From: Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press
Published August 11, 2006 12:00 AM

Wisconsin Banned From Killing Gray Wolves

WASHINGTON — A federal court has issued a preliminary injunction barring Wisconsin from killing gray wolves, siding with animal welfare and environmental groups that argue the killing violates the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had issued a permit to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for the killing of up to 43 gray wolves. The state argued that the permit was necessary to maintain social tolerance for the wolves, which are listed as endangered.

In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly mocked that rationale.

"Simply put," Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her decision, "the recovery of the gray wolf is not supported by killing 43 gray wolves."

Wolves were wiped out in Wisconsin in the 1950s after decades of bounty hunting. Since the animal was granted protection as an endangered species in the 1970s, wolves migrated back from Minnesota, and about 500 live mostly in northern and central Wisconsin.

In a statement Thursday, Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Chuck Traxler said, "While we are disappointed that we are unable to give states the tools they need to deal with wolf depredation, we will certainly abide by the court's ruling."

Traxler said that government lawyers were reviewing the ruling and no decision had been made on whether to appeal.

A coalition of animal welfare and environmental groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, brought the suit.

"This ruling creates an outstanding precedent for all other endangered species that are currently listed under the ESA (Endangered Species Act) and struggling to make a recovery," said Patricia Lane, an attorney for the Humane Society.

Source: Associated Press

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