Alaska Superior Court Judge William Morse yesterday denied a Motion for Preliminary Injunction brought against the Board of Game's predator management regulations.
"We're pleased that the judge found that the current regulations are valid," said Matt Robus, Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The lawsuit, filed last fall by "Defenders of Wildlife", a national environmental organization, challenges the Board of Game's regulations that allow aerial and ground-based wolf reduction programs in certain areas of the state, to encourage the growth of moose and caribou populations.
"This ruling allows us to keep on track with our ongoing programs," Robus said. "This is the time of year when daylight and weather conditions combine to improve the effectiveness of our permittees in taking wolves, and this is an important piece of our wildlife management efforts." The plaintiffs had asked Judge Morse to issue an injunction shutting down operations being conducted under the predator management regulations. "The predator reduction plans adopted by the Board of Game are designed to provide Alaskans the social and economic benefits of increasing the size of depleted moose and caribou populations," said Robus.
The judge found that the plaintiffs would not be irreparably harmed, but that the state would, if he were to shut the program down immediately. Importantly, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs have no likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the case. He specifically found that the current regulations do not violate the Administrative Procedures Act and that the plans are in compliance with the Same-Day Airborne law.
This is one of two ongoing challenges to the state's predator control program; the state is awaiting a ruling on whether the second case, filed by Friends of Animals, will be consolidated with the Defenders of Wildlife case.
Source of News: Alaska Department of Fish & Game