A federal judge has decided to consolidate two lawsuits challenging Wyoming's newly enacted rule, allowing wolves to be shot on sight in most of the state. A third lawsuit challenging the same rule was recently launched and may be consolidated with the other two as well. All three groups argue that the U.S. government should not have transfered authority of wolf management over to the state of Wyoming.
The Wyoming plan allows ongoing sport hunting for wolves outside of Yellowstone, in addition to no protections for wolves in the rest of the state.
The Associated Press reports that as of Dec. 21, Wyoming hunters had killed approximately 39 wolves in the zone just outside of Yellowstone. Another 20 wolves have been killed in other areas of Wyoming.
The U.S. government reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s.
Advocates are calling for a no-shooting zone around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
Earlier this month, a wolf describe by wildlife advocates as a "rock star," due to her popularity, was found dead outside of Yellowstone National Park, killed by hunters. The female was one of eight wolves, all outfitted with GPS collars that were recently killed outside of the park's perimeter. Data from the collars suggested that the wolves rarely ventured beyond the park and then only for brief periods.