Hunting Orgs File To Intervene In Northern Rockies Wolf Relisting Case

Three national pro-hunting conservation organizations have filed to intervene in a federal lawsuit from environmental and animal-rights groups challenging the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s denial of a petition earlier this year to relist gray wolves in the Northern Rockies, including portions of Washington and Oregon.


The Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation say wolves are recovered and continuing to expand their population and that orgs like the Center for Biological Diversity and the Humane Society are using flawed, non-peer-reviewed arguments to paint a different picture.

“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,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO, in a press release out this morning.

“… (Groups) like CBD and the Humane Society don’t care about science, don’t care about wolves, they only care about their extreme out-of-touch ideology and raising millions to file one frivolous lawsuit after another,” stated Todd Adkins, Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president of government affairs.

The two organizations were joined by Safari Club International in the filing.

Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation explained that intervening is a way for potentially affected third parties to become involved in a case and protect themselves from “having their interests adversely affected by litigation conducted in their absence … Intervention in the present frivolous lawsuits is necessary because the interests of sportsmen cannot and will not be adequately defended by FWS.”

They and RMEF believe wolves are best managed by the states.

“We want the intervention motion to make sure sportsmen are heard as we fight the extreme ideology that full and permanent protection for wolves is the only answer,” said Michael Jean, the foundation litigation counsel. “The data shows that state agencies are doing a great job managing gray wolves and we will oppose, at every turn, full ESA protection when it’s not supported by the science.”

In late 2020, USFWS delisted gray wolves throughout the Lower 48, including in the western two-thirds of Washington and Oregon, from the Endangered Species Act, which led to petitions in 2021 to relist the animals. This February, USFWS denied those petitions, stating that the predators “do not meet the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species.”

That led to an immediate lawsuit from CBD, HSUS, Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Sierra Club. Now, RMEF, SCI and the Sportmen’s Alliance are asking a federal judge to allow them to intervene in the case.