Selkirk Woodland Caribou

Selkirk Woodland Caribou

Current Status:

Case Title:
Defenders of Wildlife et al v. Martin et al, No. 05-cv-248-RHW (E.D. Wash)

Staff attorney(s):
Laurie Rule


The Lands Council

Selkirk Conservation Alliance

Idaho Conservation League

Defenders of Wildlife

Conservation Northwest

Center for Biological Diversity

To Protect:

Mountain Woodland Caribou

Date won/settled:
February 26, 2007


Case Information:

Mountain caribou are found in the US only in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and Washington, and are among the most critically endangered mammals in the lower 48 states.  The caribou feed on lichen in old growth forests to survive the winter, and are easily startled by motorized vehicles — which displace them from their winter refugia, reducing their survival and reproductive success.

We brought this case on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife, Conservation Northwest, Selkirk Conservation Alliance, Idaho Conservation League, The Lands Council, and Center for Biological Diversity against the US Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to impose winter closures to prevent snowmachines from harming caribou in critical winter habitat.  After injunction proceedings and a week long trial, US District Judge Robert Whalley ordered the agencies to close most of the Selkirk caribou’s winter habitat and prepare a long-term plan to protect the species.