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Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell: Wyoming Wolves Receive a Warranted Reprieve—But for How Long?

May 2015

Citation: ELR 10447

Author: Edward A. Fitzgerald

In September 2014, a federal district court invalidated a U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) regulation delisting wolves in Wyoming. This Article details the background and history of that litigation, arguing that the court correctly rejected DOI’s conclusion that Wyoming had adequately explained how the promised wolf population buffer would be managed, and correctly supported DOI’s conclusion that there is sufficient genetic connectivity among wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The court was mistaken, however, in upholding DOI’s finding that Wyoming areas outside federal lands and the state “trophy game” area do not constitute a significant portion of the wolf’s range. Defenders of Wildlife v. Jewell and related federal court decisions have generated congressional and executive reactions.

Edward A. Fitzgerald is a professor of political science at Wright State University.

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