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Red Wolf Coalition v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20190
Nos. 2:15-CV-42-BO, (E.D.N.C., 11/04/2018) (Boyle, J.)

A district court permanently enjoined FWS from taking endangered red wolves in a challenge against the agency's authorizations of takes of the species on private property. Environmental groups argued that the agency violated the ESA by authorizing lethal takes on private property without first making an effort to capture the animals. The court agreed, finding that the agency's failure to attempt to capture the animals conflicted with the Act's purpose of protecting endangered species and departed from long-standing agency guidelines to issue take authorizations only for problem wolves. The groups also argued the agency failed to administer the red wolf recovery program in furtherance of species conservation. The court found that the agency's recent management decisions failed to protect the red wolf population, in violation of the Act. The court therefore enjoined the agency from taking red wolves, either directly or by landowner authorization, without first demonstrating that the wolves are a threat to human safety or the safety of livestock or pets.