U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy has stopped the controversial hunt for gray wolves in Montana, granting a preliminary injunction restoring the wolves to the endangered list. Given the need to show a likelihood to prevail on the merits, it is an important ruling for environmentalists. The planned hunt was endorsed by the ironically named Ed Bangs, a federal biologist who declared the decision to delist wolves as “a very biologically sound package.” Obviously, a neutral federal judge disagreed with Bangs’ view.
There are only around 2,000 gray wolves in the three state area and officials wanted to allow hunters to kill 500 of them.
The decision was viewed as critical to reestablishing a domestic and stable population of wolves. The Administration is expected to continue to fight to re-start the hunt, but usually a preliminary injunction reflects the likely outcome on the final merits.