The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Elizabeth Bergstrom, Humane Society of the United States, (301) 258-1455,
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 534-0360,

Court-ordered Settlement Restores Endangered Species Act Protections to Great Lakes Wolves


In a victory for the gray wolf, a coalition of wolf advocates led by
the Humane Society of the United States has reached a settlement with
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore federal Endangered
Species Act protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region, including
the states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

settlement comes in response to a motion filed by the HSUS, the Center
for Biological Diversity, Help Our Wolves Live, Friends of Animals and
Their Environment and Born Free USA. The motion sought an immediate
injunction to halt the killing of wolves pending resolution of the
case, which the groups filed two weeks ago.

This is
the sixth time in the past five years that a federal government
decision to strip wolves of Endangered Species Act protections has been
stopped through legal action, but the settlement does not prevent the
administration from making another attempt to delist wolves and turn
their fate over to state killing plans.

"We applaud
the Obama administration for restoring federal protections for wolves
in the Great Lakes," said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president and chief
counsel for animal protection litigation with the HSUS. "This agreement
will give the administration a much-needed opportunity to reconsider
the failed wolf-management policies of the past, and hopefully put to
rest the states' reckless plans to start sport hunting and trapping
imperiled wolves."

The suit challenged the federal
government's decision to remove all Endangered Species Act protections
for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region - a decision that
would have allowed hostile state wildlife agencies to subject the
wolves to widespread and indiscriminate killings at the hands of state
agents, farmers and trophy hunters. Some of the state management plans
allow a nearly 50-percent reduction of the region's wolf population.

and persecution remain severe threats to wolves in the upper Midwest
and elsewhere," said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate at the
Center for Biological Diversity. "Wolf recovery has made tremendous
strides, but with wolves occupying roughly five percent of their
historic range, the job is far from finished."

Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reported that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources intends to
implement sport hunting and trapping seasons for wolves if they are
ever successfully stripped of federal Endangered Species Act
protection. The management plans for Minnesota and Michigan also allow
for the establishment of future recreational hunting and trapping of

"The court's decision is great news for
wolves and for the integrity of science in government decision-making,"
said Nicole Paquette, senior vice president of Born Free USA. "We hope
that the Fish and Wildlife Service will honestly assess the scientific
information it previously refused to review."

plaintiffs are represented pro bono by the law firm Faegre &
Benson. The settlement will be submitted to the federal district court
for the District of Columbia today for final approval.


Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal
protection organization -- backed by 11 million Americans, or one of
every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for
the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on
programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at

Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation
organization with more than 220,000 members and online activists
dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild

Our Wolves Live is a Minnesota nonprofit organization, dedicated to the
protection and preservation of the gray wolf, lynx, and other
endangered or threatened predator species. HOWL has over 200 members,
many of whom live in the State of Minnesota.

of Animals and Their Environment is a Minnesota nonprofit organization
committed to the protection of animals and the ecosystems on which they
depend. FATE has approximately 200 members and supporters who regularly
advocate on behalf of animals, and in particular wolves.

Free USA works to alleviate captive animal suffering, rescue individual
animals, protect wildlife -- including highly endangered species -- in
their natural habitats, and encourage compassionate conservation
globally. More at

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252