CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The future of Wyoming wolf management rides on a federal court hearing set for Friday in Washington, D.C.
The hearing before a three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals comes two years after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Washington, D.C., sided with national environmental groups and rejected Wyoming’s wolf management plan.
Lawyers from the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are seeking to override Jackson’s 2014 decision, while environmental groups are urging the appeals court to retain the federal protections for wolves in the state. The appeals court likely will issue a written decision several months after Friday’s hearing.
In her ruling, Jackson agreed with the Fish and Wildlife Service that wolves in the Northern Rockies had recovered. She also accepted the agency’s finding that wolves aren’t endangered or threatened within a significant portion of their range.
However, Jackson ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was wrong to trust nonbinding promises from the state of Wyoming to maintain at least 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside of Yellowstone and the Wind River Indian Reservation.