Melissa Dewberry enjoys doing crossword puzzles, walking her cat and pondering ways to patch up the hole in the ozone layer.
Animal Rights – Wildlife advocates appeared in federal court Tuesday seeking to stop grey wolf hunts that are under way in the Northern Rockies, arguing that Congress did not have the authority to strip federal protection from the canines.
Federal biologists say the wolf population is healthy enough to support the slaughter, or hunts, in Idaho and Montana. The two states want to “drive down the predators’ numbers to curb their attacks on livestock and big game herds.”
Wildlife advocates, however, argue that too many wolves are being killed too quickly, which threatens to rapidly undo the species’ decades-long recovery.
One hundred and seventy wolves have been shot since the hunting commenced in late August; meaning roughly 65 wolves are being killed monthly.
“The longer the hunting season goes on, the more risk to the population in total,” said James “Jay” Tutchton, an attorney who spoke on behalf of WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups that sued Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after wolves lost their federal protection.
The “hunts were allowed after Congress last spring took the unprecedented step of stripping endangered species protections from more than 1,300 wolves. That prompted a reverse lawsuit from wildlife advocates who say Congress effectively reversed prior court rulings that favored protection of the [endangered] animals.”
Tuesday’s hearing took place before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, Calif.
The 9th Circuit agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis.
Anna M. Seidman, with Safari Club International, said hunters are “being careful” and do not want to see the wolves placed back on the endangered species list, because then they could no longer kill them for fun in their spare time.
“Hunters are conservationists,” she said. “The whole idea behind hunting is sustainable use to make sure they’re here now [to kill] and remain there [to kill] for many generations.”
Read more at the Associated Press.