Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rocky Mountain National Park wolf reintroduction case to be heard at CU-Boulder

On Thursday, the court will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by Broomfield's WildEarth Guardians to compel Rocky Mountain National Park to fully analyze introducing wolves to the park to control elk herds. The court's visit coincides with CU's Gathering of the Bench and Bar Conference. In the Rocky Mountain National Park case, WildEarth Guardians is represented by the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Environmental Law Clinic. DU law student Jenni Barnes plans to argue the case Thursday before the panel of judges. Wendy Keefover, of WildEarth Guardians, said her organization sued after the national park, in creating its 2007 elk management plan, didn't fully consider releasing wolves as a management tool. The park service approved the 20-year plan to reduce the elk herd because overgrazing damaged habitat and threatened other species. Now, sharpshooters are used to control the population. No elk were culled last winter, but a total of 131 elk were removed over the three previous winters. Some of the elk killed were used for research. In the past, Rocky Mountain National Park officials said they considered using a small number of wolves to reduce the elk herd and keep the animals on the move so they couldn't damage the vegetation. But they have said they didn't have the necessary support from state and other federal agencies. They also said the park isn't big enough to contain the wolves long-term...more

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