Finally I have some hopeful news in the battle to protect wolves, as well as many other endangered wildlife where state politics have won out over good science. First lets start with some background on the situation.
Endangered Species Act (ESA):
If you have been reading my other posts you probably have a decent understanding of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) formed in 1973 which provides federal protection for threatened and endangered wildlife all over the United States. You may also know that recently some sneaky politicians were able to attach a rider bill that stripped the grey wolf’s protection in many parts of the United States, specifically Montana and Idaho by taking them off the ESA list. By taking them off the ESA, states are now in control of the wolf’s fate and unfortunately that’s when it starts going down hill. Because most politicians are more concerned about getting re-elected, they are now threatening the millions of dollars and over 15 years of hard work that this nation has spent to re-introduce wolves into the ecosystem. They are approving hunting permits, and supporting shoot on site policies that put over 1,000 wolf lives in danger.
Wildlife Trust Doctrine:
The Wildlife Trust Doctrine is a section of the larger Public Trust Doctrine. The Public Trust Doctrine was formed after a few supreme court decision between 1842-1896 that basically said that land and wildlife in a state should be preserved “for the benefit of the people, and not …for the advantage of the government as distinct from the people or for the benefit of private individuals” and in this case, individuals refers to the ranchers that are trying to blame the wolves for every cow or sheep that goes missing. It also says that wildlife is owned by everyone in the state and therefore the state has an obligation to protect it for all future generations.
Wolves and the Wildlife Doctrine:
So how does this all come together for wolves? Well after wolves were taken off the ESA (Federal protection) and passed onto the state level the Wildlife Doctrine can now be looked at as a way to protect the wolves with the same protection that was granted under the ESA and science can now be used again to keep the wolves on track for a successful reestablishment into the United States. Currently no action has officially been taken to establish the wildlife doctrine back into the court system but I can pretty much guarantee that it will happen soon and when it does, I will make sure everyone gets updated with a play by play. It looks like this time the shady politicians that are against protecting our wildlife might finally get what’s coming to them!