It seems like it's been awhile, yet at the same time, they never seem far away from controversial Montana wildlife news.

The latest in the Wolf Wars saga began yesterday (Thursday) when wildlife advocates  sent a formal petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to relist gray wolves as an endangered species throughout the western United States, including of course Montana. The move is in response to new laws in Idaho and Montana intended to reduce wolf populations.

One of the bigger-name players involved in the petition is Western Watersheds Project. A couple of lines from their website on their stance on the issue state, "The livestock industry and its politicians have dampened the protective measures of the Endangered Species Act largely precluding wolves’ restoration and wholly undermining their contribution to the restoration of riparian areas on public lands that are grazed.  Enough is enough – public lands belong to all of us. Despite recovery efforts demonstrating the minimal negative impacts to livestock and big game hunting opportunities over the last decade and despite the good-faith efforts of wolf advocates to respond to financial concerns, little has changed to curb intolerance for wolves."

Another is WildEarth Guardians. From their website we found, "Seventy groups have filed a formal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-list the gray wolf as an endangered species throughout the American West: The Endangered Species Act is our country’s most essential environmental law protecting imperiled plants and animals, yet some members of Congress want to weaken the law. Tell Congress you value native wildlife and want to see all imperiled species protected."

The groups cite unregulated hunting, poaching and genetic problems involving small wolf populations. We know a lot of Montana hunters and livestock owners who would tell you differently. We're NOT taking sides in this post, just letting you know what's out there on the issue should you want to research it further.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to respond to the petition within 90 days on whether there is enough information for a potential listing under the Endangered Species Act.

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