Gray wolf in Denali, © Didier Lindsey

Open Season In Wyoming

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has just confirmed our fears in Wyoming — wolves in that state are now officially being removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act, and will be vulnerable to the state’s wildlife management plan, a document hardly worthy of the name. Since speaking with officials at the White House and the USFWS, I knew this day could be coming soon, but I hoped that those with the power to make this decision would see reason and allow science, not politics, to carry the day.

To add insult to injury, the announcement was made today – the Friday before Labor Day weekend. Many people in a position to react to this news — policy officials, legislators, the media  — are likely taking an early day off to enjoy the long weekend. Unfortunately, it is a common practice in Washington, D.C., to use a day like this to make an announcement that one is fairly certain will not be well-received. It can be made to a minimal audience, while few may be paying attention, and then hopefully forgotten about through the many distractions of a holiday weekend. A common practice, but a cowardly one.

Now, wolves in Wyoming are more vulnerable than they have been in decades. The state’s management plan allows for the unregulated killing of wolves throughout most of Wyoming. Those who wish to kill wolves in all but a small portion of the state will not need to buy tags or permits. There will be no bag limits no wolves, or any requirement to report wolf kills. Anyone will be free to eliminate wolves by almost any means, from shooting to gassing them in their dens, even on national forests and wildlife refuges. There will be a quick and merciless effort to bring the wolf population down to the lowest possible number without triggering a re-listing. Wolves will be treated as vermin, instead of being protected as the still-recovering species that they really are. And all of this could start as soon as October 1 — sooner, if the USFWS decides to waive the traditional 30-day waiting period between the announcement and the effective date.

Though I hoped for a better outcome, we at Defenders have also made sure that we were prepared for the worst, if it came to that. We’ll be taking this fight to the courts to show the administration and the USFWS that this so-called management plan is unacceptable. Its approval is questionable, its methods are reckless, and the low bar that it sets for wildlife recovery under the Endangered Species Act has the potential to place hundreds more endangered species in harm’s way. It is a dangerous precedent, and we cannot allow it to stand.

In the meantime, if you are as upset by this decision as we are, there are two things you can do. The first is to spread the word. Tell others about this situation, and raise awareness, instead of allowing the decision to pass quietly. You can also give feedback directly to the parties responsible through the links and phone numbers below:

White House (202-456-1111)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1-800-344-9453)
Department of the Interior (202-208-3100)

You can also help support our efforts to fight the delisting through legal channels by clicking here.

Together, we worked for years to help bring wolves back from the brink in one of the most successful wildlife conservation efforts in U.S. history. We have come so far. If we have to keep fighting to prevent them from turning back the clock, then that’s exactly what we’ll do.

16 Responses to “Open Season In Wyoming”

  1. Amir

    I spread the word as much as I could. I will definitely be giving feedback to the listed people.

  2. wolfy (mason)

    STOP STOP STOP!!! i cant help but cry!! im only 13 and i am smart enough to know that wolf killing is WAY passed wrong! please people just stop all this!!! wolves are beautiful and the only things on this earth that i would put my life before! if you dont believe me then try me! im not trying to sound mean or sobby but please just stop! i dont even know what to say…my eyes are full of tears and i am just so disapointed in us all..what next we cut down all the forest and put rabbits on display!? just…just…STOP!!!!!!

  3. juanda1234

    we should defend thisn animals for we need them to survive we have already damaged the earth lets not damage it more

  4. Josh

    I agree that wolves should not be slaughtered as they were in the past. Anyone who thinks wolves are evil and should be extirpated needs to read Aldo Leopold’s “Thinking Like a Mountain”. This article however, is overly exaggerated propaganda. Wolves are not being slaughtered, they are being hunted during regulated seasons with strict quotas. Get the facts before you speak next time. Regulated hunting is the cornerstone of wildlife conservation and is no more evil than the wolves themselves. Without it we would not have the abundance of wildlife you see today. If you question this look up the Pittman Robertson Act or the Duck Stamp. These are just two examples of efforts by hunters to preserve the wildlife we love.

  5. What is this

    What the heck? Allowing unrecorded kills of wolves is one of the most stupid and unnecessary laws ever mentioned along with SOPA, criminalizing permaculture, and making every water in this entire country the government’s. (No seriously, check it out.) I don’t know what they are thinking while trying to establish this law, but I know animal lovers out there will fight against this law. (Most likely PETA will go crazy over this.)

  6. Diana


  7. dig that crow strut

    This is absolutey horrible!!!
    Ignorance at it’s best!!!!!


    Okay everybody has to feel passionately about something and I respect your opinions, so I kindly ask that you respect mine. 28 years ago my elk hunting partners started hunting but not for sport but to provide for our families and for the adventure of back country hunting. We always heard the bugles of elk in every drainage, now we hear wolves and not elk. We all stick to the straight and narrow and are proud to be ethical hunters. I am now almost 30 and although my father is not alive anymore he passed on many lessons to me that will pass on to my sons. Lessons like how to live of the land and how to be a responsible conservationist.
    Unfortunatley it seems that nearly everyone is an extremist anymore and none of us can meet in the middle. Do I think that wolves have a place, I do. Do I think that their population should be responsibly managed I do. If all you do is protect and preserve any wildlife then eventually hunting must occur because inevitably the population will consume its food source and begin to starve until a new one is found. I am not saying wolves should just be wiped out but there numbers should be managed, just as all wildlife should be, to help maintain a healthy ecosystem for our children to enjoy, whether they are taught what I was or they choose to view and photograph. All that I am really trying to say is middle ground must be met before either side of the extemists takes matters into their own hands.

  9. dig that crow strut

    “Life is as dear to the mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain,
    just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”
    _ _His Holiness, The Dalai Lama

  10. BellaAngelWolf

    I agree there should be no hunting wolves! They have a life too!




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