WildEarth Guardians

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Round 2 Against the Federal Government’s Wildlife-Killing Program in Montana

WildEarth Guardians v. Bucknell, et. al.
Pending, complaint filed
Case No.
Date Filed
January 18, 2023
State, Venue
Montana, Federal District Court of Montana (Missoula Division)
Matt Bishop & Sarah McMillan (WELC), Jennifer Schwartz
This lawsuit, filed in Montana federal district court on January 18, 2023, marks WildEarth Guardians’ second legal challenge to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Wildlife Services’ predator killing program in Montana. In 2020, Guardians secured a settlement that temporarily halted and curtailed the killing of native wildlife throughout Montana’s most ecologically critical areas while Wildlife Services agreed to revise its environmental analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). See: https://wildearthguardians.org/legal-cases/challenging-the-federal-governments-wildlife-killing-program-in-montana/

Yet the program’s revised analysis still fails to confront modern science that shows killing carnivores like wolves, bears, coyotes and mountain lions does little to protect domestic livestock from future depredations and, if anything, can often lead to increased conflicts in the absence of better livestock husbandry and grazing practices. In addition to challenging the program on the grounds that its findings are at odds with a wealth of current science regarding the ineffectiveness of lethal predator control as a means of reducing livestock losses, this second round of litigation also aims to tackle the program’s violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for killing and removing federally listed threatened grizzly bears.