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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Conservation Northwest statement on settlement of wolf recovery lawsuit in Northern Rockies

Conservation Northwest statement on a legal settlement reached by ten conservation groups with the Department of the Interior regarding wolf recovery and management in the Northern Rockies.

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Mar 21, 2011

Ten conservation groups reached a legal settlement last Friday with the Department of the Interior regarding wolf recovery and management in the Northern Rockies. The settlement was filed for approval with a U.S. Federal District Court in Montana. If approved by the court, the agreement would remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Idaho and Montana and return management authority to those states, while retaining full protection in Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and Utah.  While Conservation Northwest was not a party to the lawsuit nor the settlement, the organization is encouraged by this recent development and issues the following statement:

“We hope that this agreement will help ease the emotion and polarization that has grown to infuse the wolf issue since the federal court reinstated protections.  It is an important step forward that we believe will lead to the conservation and management of wolves in ways that best serve nature and people.”
  
“In areas where wolves are abundant, management is often required to prevent conflicts. This agreement will give the states where wolves are doing well – namely Idaho and Montana – more flexibility to manage their population and minimize conflicts, while other states develop scientifically credible wolf management plans.”

“While wolves are starting to make a comeback in the West, their populations are still fragile in states like Washington, where poaching has influenced their ability recover.  We support keeping wolves protected under the Endangered Species Act in Washington until their populations have recovered.”

“The agreement highlights the importance of having scientifically credible state wolf plans and maintaining a viable, connected population.   Conservation Northwest will continue to build common ground among Washington’s Wolf Working Group and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop a solid plan as wolves return to our state.  Our hope is that Washington can serve as an example of the right way to handle the volatile issue of wolf management.”

 

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