In the past 15-20 years the wolf has re-populated its former range in the Northern Rockies. The result has been an improvement of the ecosystem in the region. Elk herds are now healthier and in more realistic numbers for their range, allowing young Aspen to grow, rather than being munched by over-populated Elk herds.
Senators Jon Testor (D-Montana) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) are responsible for the rider being inserted in the budget bill.
The Center For Biological Diversity has the ugly details:
Center For Biological Diversity
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) today placed a rider on the must-pass federal budget bill that removes wolves in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Utah from the federal endangered species list and sets the stage for near-term delisting in Wyoming. The rider bans citizens from challenging the wolf delisting decision while preserving anti-wolf litigation brought by the state of Wyoming and others.
The wolf populations could show a precipitous decline once hunting begins, no one really knows how many wolves will be killed.
“Tens of millions of dollars were spent building up the wolf population in the northern Rockies and giving wolves a toehold in Washington and Oregon. Now, in one fell swoop, that investment is being swept away. Wolves in Washington and Oregon may disappear in a few years. Those in the northern Rockies will begin plummeting and may be lost in a few decades,” said Suckling-(Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.)
This sets a terrible precedent for the Endandered Species Act. It will embolden senators and representatives to single out species in their own states that have powerful enemies (ranchers, mining companies, logging companies etc.)
In the 38-year history of the Endangered Species Act, Congress has never intervened to override the law and remove a plant or animal from federal protection..
Here are a few photos of our friends: