Appeal of wolf removal rescheduled
June 18, 1999
Web posted at: 1:44 p.m. EDT (1744 GMT)
The appeal of a court decision to remove reintroduced gray wolves from Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, postponed because of illness, has be rescheduled for July 29.
Environmentalists were supposed to have their day in court in May to appeal the 1997 ruling by Wyoming District Court Judge William Downes that said the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park was a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Nevertheless, the judge who was supposed to hear the appeal fell ill in May and the date was postponed.
In 1995, the first batch of gray wolves was reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park as part of a controversial reintroduction program. Although gray wolves once roamed Yellowstone in abundance, before the reintroduction program they had not been sighted in the area for more than 60 years. Now the populations are thriving with approximately 250 wolves.
But some ranchers claim that there were indeed wolf sightings just before the reintroduction program was started, due to a small migration of wolves from Canada into the reintroduction area.
In a very controversial case, Downes ruled that the government was wrong to have experimentally introduced the wolves to an area where the animal was already found. He ordered all of the reintroduced wolves and their offspring removed, calling the reintroduction program illegal.
As anticipated, environmentalists and the Department of the Interior filed a joint appeal in 1998.
In the upcoming appeal, a panel of judges will hear oral arguments from the Wyoming Farm Bureau and Bruce Babbitt from the Department of the Interior, among others. A one-hour time limit has been set for the entire procedure.
Copyright 1999, Environmental News Network, All Rights Reserved
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