Feds to probe sanctioned wolf slaughter in Montana after Guv says kill ’em

Lee Heidhues 9.25.2021

The inhumane slaughter of gray wolves will continue unabated while the Federal government talks about the genocide being waged against an endangered species.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a thorough going Trump myrmidon, has no problem with permitting the slaugher of the gray wolves which have roamed the land in Montana for centuries. His action and the  hunters who kill the gray wolves will pay a psychic price in this life or the next.

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Excerpted from Montana Free Press 9.15.2021

On opening day of Montana’s expanded wolf-hunting season, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it has decided to conduct an in-depth status review to determine whether state management plans aiming to aggressively reduce wolf populations threaten the recovery of gray wolves.

“It’s tragic — and perhaps not coincidental — that this finding comes on the same day that the state of Montana has unleashed hunters to kill hundreds of wolves throughout the state, including on the edge of Yellowstone National Park,” WildEarth Guardians Executive Director John Horning said in an emailed statement. WildEarth Guardians is one of the groups that filed the later petition. 

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The agency now has a year to conduct a further review of the species using the best available science to determine whether listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted.

The process was initiated this summer when environmental groups asked the agency to relist the animals through two separate petitions. The groups filed the petitions after lawmakers in Montana and Idaho passed laws that encouraged aggressive population reduction by broadening the methods hunters could use to harvest wolves and expanding the trapping season.

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Targeted – Judy Chicago exhibit at de Young Museum San Francisco – August 2021

In a release about the decision, the agency wrote that the two petitions presented “substantial information that potential increases in human-caused mortality may pose a threat to the gray wolf in the western U.S.” and that the “new regulatory mechanisms in Idaho and Montana may be inadequate to address this threat.” The two other options before the agency included denying the petition, which would have maintained the status quo, or implementing an emergency relisting, which was what the environmental groups had asked for.

For now, existing management plans in Idaho and Montana will not be impacted by the agency’s review, according to FWS spokesperson Joe Szuszwalak, which means current hunting regulations in those states will remain in effect.

“FWP looks forward to working with the USFWS on the review they’re undertaking and will provide them with any information they need. Montana has successfully managed wolves for more than a decade and can continue to do so in a fashion that keeps their numbers at sustainable levels above minimum thresholds,” FWP spokesperson Greg Lemon said in an emailed statement.

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Measures passed by Idaho and Montana lawmakers this spring drew intense scrutiny at both the state and federal level, with Montana’s legalization of snaring, expanded trapping season and hunter reimbursement proposals collectively garnering more than 2,200 comments, most in opposition.

After Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law proposals that expanded the trapping season, removed bag limits, authorized reimbursement for wolf harvests, and legalized neck snares and bait-aided and night hunting, the pressure campaign shifted.

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Comments poured into the inboxes of Montana Fish and Wildlife Commissioners and federal agency heads, including U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and U.S. Forest Service leadership, which was asked to ban wolf trapping in wilderness areas.

The latest request came in the form of a letter submitted by dozens of tribal leaders asking Haaland to place wolves back on the endangered species list due to concerns about states’ management policies for wolves.