Elk NetworkRMEF Files to Intervene in Northern Rockies Wolves Relisting Case

News Releases | May 13, 2024

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation asked a federal court to join a lawsuit in opposition to environmentalists seeking to place gray wolves in the Northern Rockies back under Endangered Species Act protections.

RMEF supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which cited extensive peer-reviewed scientific assessments to deny two petitions by litigants earlier this year when it ruled, “Despite current levels of regulated harvest, lethal control, and episodic disease outbreaks, wolf abundance in the Western United States has generally continued to increase and occupied range has continued to expand.”

“Wolf populations in Idaho and Montana are respectively 800 and 600 percent above minimum federal recovery goals while Wyoming’s population met minimum federal recovery criteria the last 21 consecutive years. Plus, those in Oregon and Washington are at their highest modern-day levels ever,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “It is incumbent that these groups stick to proven science and not emotion for the sake of healthy predator and prey populations alike.”

Environmentalists claim monitoring techniques used by Northern Rockies’ states to estimate wolf population size are flawed and overestimate the number of wolves. They also claim that previously accepted population sizes required for healthy wolf genetics are now no longer valid and minimum wolf populations need to be larger.

“Again, their arguments are not grounded in the best available science. The Crabtree and Creel white paper, which they cite as science, are independent reports authored by wolf proponents and not scientific, peer-reviewed research subject to rigorous testing. Another cited study is funded by the Turner Endangered Species Fund, a well-known wolf proponent group, as pointed out in its own conflict of interest section,” added Weaver.

Sportsmen’s Alliance and Safari Club International also filed to intervene alongside RMEF, which has always maintained that state wildlife agencies should sustainably manage wolves just as they manage elk, mountain lions, deer, black bears and other wildlife in line with the North American Wildlife Conservation Model.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:  

Founded in 1984 and fueled by hunters, RMEF has conserved more than 8.9 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation”® at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.