Court rules against Mexican gray wolf management guidelines

A federal judge has ruled that 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service management guidelines for an experimental population of the endangered Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) “fails to further the conservation” of the species.

U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Zipps of the District of Arizona wrote that the 2015 guidelines which set a population cap of 325 individuals “only ensures the short-term survival of the species.”

Zipps also ruled that the species’ “nonessential” designation — meaning the population’s survival is not necessary for the continued existence of the species — was “not based on the best available information and is arbitrary and capricious” and called for a new essentiality determination.

The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed in 2015 by the Center for Biological Diversity over the 2015 guidelines, arguing they set inadequate population goals and disregarded long-term management considerations.

USFWS drafted a revised Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan in 2017, which anticipates two inter-connected populations of Mexican wolves in the U.S. and Mexico, establishes new population goals, and anticipates recovery of the species in 25-35 years.  The Center for Biological Diversity filed separate action in Jan. 2018 challenging the 2017 revised recovery plan.

Read more at Public News Service.

This article was revised on April 19 to clarify distinctions between this court decision and the 2017 revised recovery plan.

Header Image: A federal judge sent 2015 management guidelines for the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after finding they did not provide for the wolf’s long-term survival. ©Don Burkett