Alyssa Grayson Gives Keynote Address at National Event
August 15, 2013
National Day of Action for Wolves:
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Cross River, NY
August 14, 2013
(with an introduction from Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center and Wolfwatcher’s Wildlife Science Director)
Hello everyone and welcome! First I would like to thank Diane Bentivegna from Wolfwatcher and Maggie Howell from the Wolf Conservation Center for hosting today’s event and the Center for Biological Diversity and Prai Beauty for sponsoring it.
Most importantly, I want to thank each and every one of you for coming here. Today is a very important day for wolves, and by coming, you are showing that America wants wolves. You are showing that you care about wolves and their future. Over 100 years ago, wolves roamed over North America – even right here, where you’re standing right now. Unfortunately, now they only exist in a small fraction of their former range. In the few states they currently inhabit, they are no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act. They are hunted, trapped, and viciously persecuted. Every year, the hunting quota goes up in those states, too.
In the rest of the United States, wolves are still protected under the ESA. And, they are struggling to recover. Wolves would not stand a chance to set up new territories and packs if they lose their federal protections. It is a scientific fact that wolves are a vital part to a healthy ecosystem. The greatest example of that is Yellowstone National Park. When the wolves were reintroduced in 1995, balance was restored to a struggling ecosystem.
On Sep. 11 Sec. Jewell will be making an important decision with USFWS to delist wolves in the lower 48 states . We want to ask them to not delist the wolves. The wolves have not yet recovered and large populations in many areas are critical to maintain balance and biodiversity. Larger populations are needed to also maintain a diverse gene pool for the survival of their species.
The Mexican gray wolf is the most endangered mammal in North America. Only about 75 remain in the wild. With gray wolves off the Endangered Species List, a Mexican gray wolf could be “mistaken” for a gray wolf and killed. This means they can become extinct in the wild in a very short amount of time.
Wolves and people can coexist peacefully. There are non-lethal ways to keep wolves away from livestock, such as fladery, guard dogs and range riders. There are plenty of areas in the north east that could sustain a healthy wolf population. We need wolves here in our region, too. The deer population is so high in some areas, they are considered nuisances.
You may be saying, “But I’m just a kid. What can I do to help?” We may not be old enough to vote yet, but some day we will. For now, our voices are just as important as everyone else’s. All the decisions the leaders of our country are making right now are going to affect our future, the next generation’s future, and the one after that. Will the howls of wild wolves still echo through the forests when we are grown up? Or will the wolves, as well as the wilderness they called home for centuries, be gone for good? Will the only wolves we see exist in zoos? We need to tell our representatives that we want wolves. Wolves are essential.
and let our representatives know that America doesn’t only want wolves – tell them, WOLVES ARE ESSENTIAL.