Fairfax, VA-The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) has filed papers to intervene in a Montana federal court, in a legal battle over delisting the Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf from federal protected status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Earlier this spring, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) made the decision to delist the wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming and to return management of the predator species to the state wildlife authorities. NRA and Safari Club International (SCI) are working together on this effort.
“The purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to provide a vulnerable species protected status until the species recovers to a healthy, sustainable population and can be maintained by science-based wildlife practices,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist. “The ESA was never intended to keep wildlife under perpetual protected status. The fact that the gray wolf has successfully recovered in these states is noteworthy. However, keeping the wolves on a protected list after the species exceeds its recovery criteria creates a natural inbalance that increases risks to both people and wildlife.”
Wolves achieved recovered status in 2000, and their population numbers in the three states now far exceeds the recovery criteria established by the FWS. However, anti-hunting and environmental groups are attempting to block the delisting. NRA joined the lawsuit to defend the decision by FWS and move forward the wolf delisting, as the now abundance of wolves has led to increased wolf attacks and caused hunters to change hunting areas and practices. Many hunters have lost hunting dogs, horses and even mules to such attacks.
NRA is also currently collaborating with SCI to defend wolf delisting in the Western Great Lakes region.
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.