Case Summary Citation
721 F. Supp. 2d 7 (D.D.C. 2010)
Since the gray wolf‟s reintroduction to the northern Rocky Mountains, competing interests have debated the management and protection paradigms afforded to this species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).91 The court in Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar characterized the controversy surrounding wolves as “steeped in stentorian agitprop.”92 Despite the varied sentiment on the topic, the court largely avoided the political and scientific arguments, and instead focused primarily on the issue of statutory interpretation. The essence of the claim was whether or not the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) may legally list only a portion of a distinct population segment (DPS) pursuant to the mandates of the ESA.93 The court held that the northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf DPS must be listed or delisted as a complete unit, allowing consistent protection across the population.94 The decision in this case has broad implications for species management under the ESA.