After the sickening hunt, which took place on a ranch owned by a media magnate and campaign contributor, Gianforte shamelessly kept the slain wolf’s pelt and skull.
“It’s surprising to learn that it’s even possible to violate Montana’s lax rules for killing wolves,” said Michael Robinson at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. “The mandatory wolf-trapping class that the governor skipped before setting a trap warns how to avoid public controversy in the course of committing extraordinary cruelty. Governor Gianforte’s flouting of the whitewashing regulations encapsulates perfectly his government’s brazenly shameless treatment of these ecologically vital animals.”
Gianforte’s violation comes 10 years after Congress passed a rider on a must-pass budget bill that removed wolves in Montana and nearby states from the endangered species list. This move ignored previous court rulings that the long-persecuted animals still required federal protection.
Montana has sadly increased the number of wolves killed within its borders, and Gianforte is expected to support additional wolf-killing bills that make their way through the state legislature.
“Wolves are vital to their ecosystems and are cherished by so many Montanans and visitors,” said Robinson. “The slaughter in the northern Rocky Mountains is unjustified and downright sickening, much like the governor’s grotesque behavior.”
When the Trump administration proposed to remove protections from nearly every gray wolf in the lower 48 states, in 2019 the Center launched their Call of the Wild campaign, holding rallies and community hearings across the country. Their campaign, joined with efforts by their allies, generated 1.8 million comments opposing the plan.
Despite the Center’s legal wins and massive public support for gray wolves, in fall2020 the Service finalized its decision to strip federal protection from all U.S. wolves except the small Southwest population (listed separately under the Act).
This wolf “delisting” rule was set to go into effect in early January 2021, after the Center and their allies had already filed a notice of intent to sue. Their notice stated that removing protections is unlawful because wolves haven’t recovered. The decision also contradicts current science on wolf conservation and taxonomy, and ignores concerns raised in peer reviews by the nation’s top wolf scientists.
A mere 6,000 wolves occupy less than 10% of their historic range in the lower 48 states. Establishing wolf populations in remaining suitable habitat in the Northeast, southern Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, California, and elsewhere, would secure a future for wolves and allow them to play their valuable ecological role in more of their former home territory.
Sign the petition to urge U.S. legislators to put gray wolves back on the Endangered Species List, HERE!
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