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Wolves in the Courtroom: Battle in Montana

Wolves in the courtroom - Battle in Montana

This week represents a pivotal time for America’s wolves as Judge Molloy considers the arguments in a court case which could lead to placing wolves back on the Endangered Species List.

Here is a wrap up of all the different types of coverage.


Advocates: Wolf case a test for endangered species
by Matt Volz – Associated Press

HELENA, Mont.—A federal court hearing on Tuesday could decide how the federal Endangered Species Act is interpreted, and whether the government can use political considerations in choosing how and where a species can be listed under the act, according to people on both sides of the issue.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy will hear arguments in Missoula on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s April 2009 decision that designated northern Rocky Mountain gray wolves a distinct population segment, took the wolves off endangered species list and turned over wolf management to Montana and Idaho wildlife officials.

The same decision left federal protections in place in Wyoming, where state law is considered hostile to the wolves’ survival. Wyoming law declares almost 90 percent of the state a “predator zone” where wolves can be shot on sight…

Read the entire article on Advocates: Wolf case a test for endangered species

From KPAX in Missoula, Montana:

Missoula wolf hearing had some bumps
by Dennis Bragg

MISSOULA – Tuesday’s hearing on the fate of protection for gray wolves had problems both inside and outside the courtroom.

The scheduled two-hour hearing was to give attorneys time to present their oral arguments on the debate over whether wolves should be taken off the Endangered Species List in Montana and Idaho, but still protected in Wyoming.

But the stuffy courtroom packed with observers proved to be much for one attorney, who actually collapsed.

Molly Knobler, a Stanford legal student, was presenting arguments for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition when she paused to remove her jacket and then fainted as she moved to get a glass of water. Judge Donald Molloy evacuated the courtroom so paramedics could help Knobler. She recovered but had an associate finish her presentation after the 25-minute recess…

Read the entire article on Missoula wolf hearing had some bumps

From KCFW:

Wolf lawsuit hearing
by Christian Hauser

Conservationists say some wolves in the northern rockies get treated like second class citizens. Federal lawyers argue the wolves are one of the most studied groups in the world and science says they have recovered.

Hunters and wolf advocates protest outside the Missoula Federal Courthouse today. Inside, a Federal judge took the first step toward deciding whether wolves should be returned to the endangered species list.

The plaintiffs case hinges on whether the government incorrectly took Montana and Idaho wolves off the endangered species list, but left wolves in Wyoming on. Federal lawyers told judge Molloy wolves made a significant recovery in Montana and Idaho.

They argued the Wyoming wolves can be treated differently and that the Endangered Species Act needs flexibility to work. Montana and Idaho’s management proposals got Federal okays, but Wyoming’s wolf plan didn’t get approval. A lawyer for Montana said what happens in Montana and Idaho shouldn’t depend on Wyoming…

Read the entire article on Wolf Lawsuit Hearing

A release from Defenders of Wildlife
Mike Senatore – Vice President, Conservation Law – Defenders of Wildlife

It’s been a long and hard battle — and the judge could rule at any time on whether to restore vital federal protections for still-recovering wolves in the Greater Yellowstone and northern Rockies region.

Inside the courtroom, each side had 90 minutes to present their case to the judge. Our lead attorney was the first to take the stage, addressing key questions from the judge.

There was even a bit of drama in the courtroom: One of the lawyers fighting for wolves fainted during her arguments to the judge! She’s fine — it just goes to show how hard she’s been working to help save these wolves.

Outside the courtroom, anti-wolf protesters made their presence felt with signs saying “Kill Wolves” and labeling Defenders as “terrorists.”

This court battle is pivotal to the future of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone and northern Rockies and a ruling could come at any time. But win or lose, our work to ensure a lasting future for wolves in the West will not end at the courtroom doors.

Please consider becoming a Wildlife Guardian with a small monthly gift to help save the lives of wolves in Greater Yellowstone and the northern Rockies and other wildlife and their homes.

Anti-wolf vigilantes are preparing to take matters into their own hands. A post on one extremist website instructs visitors on how to poison wolves with commonly available products.1 And strychnine-laced sausages — possibly left for wolves by forest trails — have already poisoned several dogs in Idaho.2

This charged atmosphere makes Defenders’ work all the more important. We’re not only fighting in court, but we’re also busy on the ground, working to save the lives of the wolves you and I have fought so hard to protect.

Defenders is collaborating with ranchers and livestock producers to reduce conflicts with wolves. We’re countering the anti-wolf lies and extreme rhetoric in the media. We’re mobilizing tens of thousands of activists from across the country. And we’re working to bring lawless wolf poachers to justice.

This isn’t the only place that wolves are in court. They are also in court in Wyoming, and just recently got a win in Alaska after the federal government pushed Alaska off plans to kill wolves on Unimak Island.

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