May 26, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Who’s the Predator And Who’s the Prey? Wyoming Fights Endangered Gray Wolves

Oct 06, 2014 12:23 AM EDT

It's been a war brewing for the last few months, and Wyoming just entered its Hail Mary pass. Only a day after federal court judge Amy Berman Jackson of the Washington D.C. circuit announced that Gray Wolves would once again be inducted to the endangered species list, the state of Wyoming's Game and Fish Commission appealed to the Secretary of State's Office in hopes of commencing with its annual wolf-hunting season.

The proposed emergency regulation that Wyoming has planned to enact in attempts to address the judge's concerns will likely be short-lived and far too little, as the state's traditional protocol against the predatory species has been to designate that gray wolves be shot on sight across 80 percent of the state.

"There are no guarantees this will work" head of the wildlife division of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, Brian Nesvik says.

After the 2012 lawsuit filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by a coalition of conservation groups, Wyoming's conservation plans have been under harsh scrutiny and have shown flaws in the process. Flaws, which judge Berman Jackson believes can no longer be ignored.

In her ruling made earlier this week, on Tuesday Sept. 23, judge Berman Jackson wrote that while wolf populations had recovered sufficient genetic exchange, that has been limited by the geospatial location of other packs, Wyoming's plan to have viable populations was not binding and did not ensure a future for the species as a whole.

Mike Senatore, Vice President of the conservation law and general counsel for Defenders of Wildlife, who were originally involved in the lawsuit, indicates that while the injunction against hunting may be a great win in the short run, further conservation efforts will be necessary for the continued future of the species.

"What we hope Wyoming does is they go back and put in place a plan that will actually ensure the long-term recovery and survival of wolves in the state" Senatore says. "We continue to have major problems with the two-tiered status of wolves in the state."

Though while conservationists and wolf activists are excited about the news of the gray wolves readdition to the endangered species list, locals in Wyoming and anti-wolf groups are not on the same page. Taking to social media and the web with their outrage, some anti-wolf groups have published images of themselves in white hoods with freshly slaughtered wolves and filled cages full of trapped wolves covered in blood. Creating a very polarized view of the issue, locals fear that overkilling spawned the indefinite hiatus of their hunting season, but also that cessation in hunting the predatory species could lead to some very dangerous backlash.

"It's just another page in the saga of this whole issue" owner of Absaroka Ranch near Dubois, Wyoming Budd Betts says. "I thought this very well could have happened. [I fear] this is going to be a recipe for an exploding population."

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