On May 28, 2008 attorneys from Safari Club International, the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, the federal government, animal rights groups, and other sporting and ranching groups, crowded into a Missoula, Montana courthouse to argue the temporary fate of Northern Rocky Mountain wolves. In all, eight individual attorneys each weighed in about whether the federal court should grant a preliminary injunction motion that would place wolves back on the endangered species list for the period of time necessary for full litigation of the animal rights groups’ challenge to wolf delisting. The federal government attorney defended the legality of the delisting action and each of the state attorneys demonstrated why their states’ laws and management plans would sufficiently maintain viable wolf populations. SCI took its oral argument opportunity to explain that the balance of public interests, represented by the diverse parties involved in the lawsuit, and each affected differently by the status of wolves, was best served with wolves remaining off the endangered species list. The court took the matter under consideration and promised to rule expeditiously.
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The District Court in Montana granted Safari Club International’s request to intervene and represent hunters in a second lawsuit challenging the Endangered Species Act delisting of the grizzly bears of the Yellowstone area. The delisting turns over management of this recovered species to the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. SCI supports state management as more responsive to the needs of sportsmen and women, who often have negative encounters with grizzlies while pursuing recreational activities. In briefing currently set to begin on June 1, 2008, SCI will argue, among other things, that the Yellowstone grizzlies long ago surpassed recovery goals. SCI is also participating in grizzly delisting litigation in District Court in Idaho.