2015 10(j) Court Ruling
On March 30, 2018 the United States District Court issued a 44-page order on the 2015 10(j) rule in favor of conservation organizations and against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“10(j)” is the section within the Endangered Species Act that authorizes regulations of endangered species. Read more about 10(j) designation here.
The current 2015 10(j)rule:
• Caps the wild population of Mexican wolves at 320 in a single isolated population.
• Restricts movement of Mexican wolves, keeping them south of I-40.
• Determines that the wild population of Mexican wolf is nonessential to the survival of the species.
• Allows for relaxed rules on the “take” — killing, trapping, and removal — of Mexican wolves.
In March, 2018 the Court ruled:
• That the 2015 10(j) rule does nothing to conserve and recover the Mexican wolf.
• That the Service’s decisions were not based on the best available science, in fact that the Service ignored the findings and recommendations of respected biologists and ecologists.
• That designating the current wild population as nonessential is “arbitrary and capricious” — basically a groundless determination.
The Court is now requiring the US Fish & Wildlife Service to go through all the necessary steps to issue a new rule that is based on the best available science and advances the conservation and recovery of the Mexican wolf to the point where listing under the Endangered Species Act is no longer necessary.
This is a huge win for Mexican wolves, BUT wolf supporters must remain vigilant because:
• Congress could pass legislation overriding the Court ruling.
• The Service could appeal to a higher Court.
• If the Court order stands, the Service will start the process issuing a new rule — taking several years to complete and public comment will be necessary.
During the last rule-making process wolf supporters submitted 101,010 comments!
During the new rule-making process once again Mexican wolves need YOU to speak for them.
The full recovery of Mexican wolves needs:
• IMMEDIATE release of wolves from the captive population into the wild population.
• The Service to allow Mexican wolves to occupy any suitable habitat including lands NORTH of 1-40 in Arizona and New Mexico and into southern Utah and Colorado.
• A recovered Mexican wolf population that consists of three separate but geographically connected populations with NO FEWER than 200 wolves in each.
• A total population of Mexican wolves of AT LEAST 750.
• Killing of wolves should be allowed ONLY to directly protect human life or under very limited circumstance when non-lethal measure don’t work.