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For Immediate Release: 09/29/08

Federal Court Restores Gray Wolves to Federal Endangered Species List

State-Sponsored Wolf Hunting and Trapping Programs Blocked in Great Lakes Region

Washington, DC — In a victory for the gray wolf, a federal court today overturned the federal government’s controversial decision to strip wolves of all protection under the federal Endangered Species Act and turn management over to the states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by The Humane Society of the United States, Help Our Wolves Live, Born Free USA, and Friends of Animals and Their Environment.

“This is a great day for wolves in the Great Lakes region, and a crushing blow for wealthy trophy hunting groups like the Safari Club and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance who were champing at the bit to take part in the planned slaughter of these magnificent creatures,” said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president of animal protection litigation for The Humane Society of the United States.

The court ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to carve out and delist the cluster of gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region was not clearly supported by either the language or purpose of the ESA, and thus ordered the decision vacated. In July, a federal judge in Montana overturned a similar decision stripping wolves of all federal protection in the Rocky Mountain region, thus preventing Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming from implementing wolf hunts as well.

Prior to today’s decision, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan had all authorized the killing of wolves, and their management plans would collectively allow nearly a 50 percent reduction in the region’s wolf population. Those plans were scuttled by today’s decision restoring federal protections for wolves in the region.

The plaintiffs are represented pro bono in the case by Faegre & Benson LLP.

Copies of the decision in HSUS et al. v. Kempthorne, No. 07-0677 (D.D.C. September 29, 2008) are available upon request.

Media Contact:
Liz Bergstrom, 301-258-1455, ebergstrom@humanesociety.org

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by more than 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

Help Our Wolves Live is a Minnesota non-profit organization, dedicated to the protection and preservation of the gray wolf, lynx, and other endangered or threatened predator species. HOWL has over 250 members, most of whom live in the State of Minnesota.

Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to conserve and protect wildlife in the US and globally. More information is available at bornfreeusa.org.

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