According to the Associated Press, at least 37 wolves have been killed in the Northern Rockies — over two percent of the total wolf population — in just the first month since the delisting. Environmental groups are pointing to these killings as proof that the wolves need continued protection. Earthjustice, the organization that filed the suit on behalf of those organizations, believes that the courts are the best chance to reverse the “tragic decision.”

According to Jenny Harbine, an Associate Attorney who works for Earthjustice, “The spate of wolf killings since delisting — including wolves chased down by snowmobiles and stalked at state-run feed grounds in Wyoming — makes clear the need to reinstate protections for wolves under the Endangered Species Act.”

Oregon Wild, (formerly the Oregon Natural Resources Council), represents Oregon’s voice in the wolf debate and is one of the parties named in the lawsuit.

“Oregon’s wolves are considered part of the Northern Rockies population, yet only five wolves have returned to Oregon since 1999, and two were illegally shot,” said Steve Pedery, Conservation Director of Oregon Wild. “Whether people in Oregon ever get the opportunity to see and hear wolves someday, depends upon strong federal endangered species protection that prevents unnecessary killing of wolves throughout the Northern Rockies.”