Target: Judge Amy Berman Jackson
Goal: Applaud federal judge’s decision to keep wolves in Wyoming under federal protection
As of September 2014, federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for wolves in Wyoming are reinstated. Declared an endangered species in 1978, the gray wolf was de-listed in Wyoming after its populations recovered in 2011 and 2012. Nevertheless, in the first year after the Obama administration lifted protections for the wolf in 2012, trophy hunters killed 62 wolves. Exactly how many animals were shot or trapped in areas where the wolf was declared a predator remains unknown. Meanwhile, conservationists and officials continue to debate the status of the wolf’s population, a long-time point of tension particularly in mountain states where farmers with livestock see wolves as a threat to their livelihood.
The wolves’ contentious history notwithstanding, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. has taken a major step in ensuring proper management of wolf populations. After receiving control of wolf management from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state of Wyoming had lowered the minimum number of wolves needing to be maintained to only 10 breeding pairs and a mere 100 individuals outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Meanwhile, wolves could still be hunted as “trophy-game” in the northwest corner of the state.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson concluded that the state’s existing wolf-management plan failed to maintain adequate safeguards. Furthermore, she addressed federal officials directly, deeming the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “arbitrary and capricious” for accepting the flawed plan. In rejecting the state’s plan, Judge Jackson has raised the standards for wolf conservation and held the federal government accountable for the survival of this iconic and ecologically vital species.
By signing the petition below, you will applaud Judge Jackson for prompting the creation of an improved wolf-management program. Thanks to her decision, wolves can now receive the protection they deserve.
Dear Judge Jackson,
I am writing in support of your decision to keep wolves in Wyoming under federal protection. Exposing the flaws of the state’s wolf-management plan, you also held federal officials accountable for properly caring for wolf populations.
Offering a fair decision, you took no issue with parts of the plan, namely the designation of the wolf as a predator permitted to be shot in four-fifths of the state, noting that the wolf’s numbers were low to nonexistent in those areas. That the wolf was no longer imperiled in much of its range, you also declared a reasonable claim. It is my hope that your balanced opinion can unite divided parties under the common cause of conserving Wyoming’s gray wolf population.
Thank you for taking a definitive stance on this historically contentious issue and leading the way for improved protections for this iconic keystone species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gunnar Ries via Wikimedia Commons