HomeOutdoorsJudge Reverses U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Decision to Delist Wolves From Endangered Species Act

Judge Reverses U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Decision to Delist Wolves From Endangered Species Act

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

2020 previously saw the delisting of America’s gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act. However, in a swift, contested ruling, one United States District Judge reversed the decision entirely. With a push from conservation groups, gray wolves across the U.S. found their way back onto the endangered species list. The animal populations have again begun to see federal protections following the court’s ruling.

According to Field & Stream, District Judge Jeffrey White, of Oakland, California, reinstated America’s gray wolves within the Endangered Species Act on Thursday, February 10th. White’s decision was spurred by a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of several animal rights and conservation groups. But now, it faces much backlash from opposing organizations.

Organizations including Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, The Sierra Club, The Humane Society of the United States, The National Parks Conservation Association, and Oregon Wild converged to help reverse the delisting. Now, a swathe of pro-hunting groups and organizations are expressing incredible disdain following the decision.

Kyle Weaver, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s president and CEO, shared his frustration with the District Judge’s ruling.

“Scientists, biologists, and professional wildlife managers agree that wolf populations are stable and growing,” he said. “Science speaks for itself,” he continued, though he blamed “frivolous litigation” for “thwarting science-based, state-led wildlife management.”

On the other hand, White and filing advocacy groups argued that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did a poor job of demonstrating the stability of wolf populations managed by states across the West. Instead, White argued USFWS did not consider the species-wide recovery of gray-wolves. Rather, they focused on more centralized populations in states across the Western U.S.

2021 Wolf Hunt Spurs Wolves’ Relisting Upon the Endangered Species Act

For now, Judge White’s decision will surely continue to see increased backlash from pro-hunting organizations. Despite the ruling, multiple have argued the improvement of wolf populations across the West.

Following the animals’ relisting upon the Act, Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s president and CEO, Evan Heusinkveld, stated the organization will continue to evaluate the ruling. In doing so, Heusinkveld and the foundation’s members plan to explore legal actions available in moving forward.

“We’re very disappointed by today’s ruling,” he said, “as it’s clear that wolves have recovered across their intended range when placed under federal protection.”

However, the recent ruling originally saw ignition following the extremely controversial Wisconsin wolf hunt that took place last February. Basically, in just 72 hours, the state prematurely concluded the hunt as hunters far exceeded the kill target.

Interestingly, though, the outlet shared the states currently affected by the wolves’ relisting have not held wolf hunts in 2022. Likely, much of the backlash to the recent decision comes from pro-hunting organizations in these affected regions.