Defenders, Wildlife Federation appeal Judge Downes' ruling to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court;
Three Wolves Spotted in the Crazy Mountains

12-31-97


There are two wolf stories today.  The big one is that as promised Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation have appealed the controversial decision of Wyoming federal district Judge William Downes to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The second is that a hunter has apparently spotted three uncollared wolves in the rugged Crazy Mountains -- an outlier of the Montana Rockies about 40 miles north by northeast of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

The appeal
The appeal of Downes' ruling that all the reintroduced wolves and their offspring must be "removed" was made to the Tenth Circuit Court in Denver. The Tenth Circuit has jurisdiction over Wyoming district cases, but it is not regarded as a Court friendly to environmental issues. The Ninth Circuit, which includes, Idaho and Montana is an environmental-friendly Court.

Regardless, Defenders' President Rodger Schlickeisen was quoted as saying,  ``No matter what the cost or effort, we stand ready to protect the legal right of all Americans to enjoy the splendor of wolves in our nation's oldest national park.'' "We will fight all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary and we will win,'' he said.

It should be pointed out, however, that except for a few constitutionally-defined categories, there is no right for any person or group for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is expected that the U.S. Department of Interior will also appeal the decision.

Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation is attorney Brian O'Neill, who led the successful civil suit against Exxon Corp for the 1989 Valdez, Alaska, oil spill.

Wolves in the Crazies-
Meanwhile the Bozeman Daily Chronicle has reported that a hunter, who is skilled in wildlife observation and identification "jumped" three wolves in the northern end of the rugged Crazy Mountains of south central Montana. This is north of the Yellowstone Country, but at least one Yellowstone wolf is known to have explored the Crazies in the past. Wandering white wolf, no. 39F of the Druid Peak Pack, visited last winter.

After the report, officers of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks found what they believed were wolf tracks in the vicinity.

The hunter said the wolves did not wear radio collars. No. 39F has a functioning radio collar. Tracking flights that flew to the Crazies after the report picked up no signals from radio collars. 

There have been reports of wolves in the Crazies for years.  They may be native wolves, or they may be dispersers from the Yellowstone Country, such as the hard-to-catch (never caught) offspring of plucky wolf 27F (numbers 49 and 50), who was finally slain by ADC near Dillon, Montana this fall. One of the wolves could also be 23M, the sole Rose Creek pup from 1995 that was never radio-collared and which dispersed from Rose Creek last winter.

The existence of wolves like these again underscores the lack of reality in Judge Downes' decision and order for removal of non-native wolves.  Are these native wolves?  How much expense are American taxpayers supposed to incur in tracking down, capturing and identifying wolves such as these to satisfy the Farm Bureau's anti-environmental agenda?


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