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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in April, will move to have the Western Great Lakes wolf population removed from the endangered species list. When this happens, the management of the wolf will be in the hands of the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. The Western Great Lakes wolf population has far exceeded recovery goals and is no longer endangered.

The Western Great Lakes wolf population has been delisted before, only to have environmental-animal rights groups file lawsuits based on technical issues, not biology issues, resulting in the delisting being reversed.

Likewise, the wolf population in the Rocky Mountain states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana has also far exceeded the recovery goals. It has been delisted several times and then relisted due to technical issues and lawsuits filed by environmental-animal rights groups.

With the non-native, never endangered and much larger (up to 175 pounds) wolf subspecies Canis lupus occidentalis replacing the extinct native Rocky Mountain wolf (Canis lupus irremotus) that averaged 90 pounds, elk herds in the Yellowstone ecosystem are being decimated by a subspecies of wolf that evolved to kill much larger moose.

If the goals of wolf recovery in these areas have been exceeded for years and with wolf populations growing at double-digit rates, why do the environmental-animal rights groups continue to file lawsuits?

Two reasons. First, our federal government pays them to sue under the Equal Access to Justice Act. Also, the emotional propaganda of wolves in danger, even when not true, is a phenomenal fundraising scheme, and now they are threatening to sue for a wolf recovery plan for the lower 48 states.

According to the Western Legacy Alliance, over the past 10 years $35 million in taxpayer dollars was paid to 13 environmental-animal rights groups and $4.,7 billion in taxpayer money was paid to environmental-animal rights law firms between 2003 and 2007.

The environmental-animal rights groups contest some of these numbers, but not the fact they are using (or abusing -- my term) the Equal Access to Justice Act. Compare those numbers to the $922 million the USFWS spent on the 986 endangered and threatened species in one year.

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Filing lawsuits for which they are reimbursed and delays in delisting are a gold mine for these groups, with the biology being pushed to some dark corner.

There are many conservation groups that believe the environmental-animal rights groups hope that the expansion of the wolf will eventually eliminate hunting by the human predator.

Then there is the Mexican Gray Wolf, the subspecies that is being reintroduced into eastern Arizona. They, unlike their much larger cousins to the North, have not done well.

Ranchers and others here have seen what has happened in the Rocky Mountains and the Western Great Lakes with all the lawsuits resulting in unmanaged wolf populations and decimated deer and elk herds, and they have taken matters into their own hands to prevent it from happening in the Southwest.

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