America’s Wolves Need Your Action
June 8, 2013
The Obama Administration and USFWS announced its plan to remove the gray wolf from the federal protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states. Wolves need continued protection to expand into much of their historic range before they are removed from the list.
Few gray wolves presently roam in the vast majority of their former range. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removes federal protections, wolves in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains, and the Northeast will face even more difficult odds than they do already. The proposal places them at serious risk for ever achieving natural recovery.
The proposal also includes changes for the Mexican gray wolf recovery project. The good news is that the proposed revision to the existing ‘nonessential experimental population’ designation of the Mexican wolf under the Endangered Species Act would allow Mexican wolves to be reclassified as an ‘endangered subspecies’ that may be released directly and dispersed into wider areas in Arizona and New Mexico. This change has been recommended by experts for over 10 years and can be made faster and with less bureaucratic delay than any other part of the proposed rule.
However, by identifying all of the wild wolves as “nonessential,” the USFWS ignores science and the reality of 15 years of experience with reintroducing wolves. At present, approximately 75 wolves in the wild have up to four generations of experience in establishing packs and raising pups and are over 22% of all of the Mexican wolves in the world. After four more generations of captive breeding with few releases (only one in the last five years), scientists warn that there may be serious genetic problems making captive wolves less able to thrive in the wild. The fourth generation of wild lobos is not expendable and is an essential part of recovering this unique subspecies.
When USFWS published the current rule in 1998 they said they expected to put out a new recovery plan for the public to comment on later that year; 15 years later, there still is no scientific or legally adequate recovery plan! The new proposed rule puts the cart before the horse and should come with or after – not before – an updated recovery plan. It continues to emphasize a woefully inadequate population of only 100 wolves in the wild.
It is important to note that the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to obtain all of the “Structured Decision Making” documents that led to the proposed “National Wolf Strategy” This ‘strategy’ called for striking the gray wolf from the federal list of threatened or endangered species in the lower 48 states. Sixteen scientists expressed “serious concerns” with a recent draft rule to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 States. PEER’s statement goes into further detail. And then, on June 27th, our suspicions were confirmed and our worst fears were realized when PEER reported, “Politics Dominated Wolf Delisting Meetings.”
On Aug. 9, the Interior Dept. has effectively blocked three scientists from participating in an independent peer review of its proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves after the scientists signed a May 21 letter criticizing the delisting plan.
Your action is needed to help wolves for
before October 28th.
- All wolf supporters (even those from other nations) can also submit a comment directly on the US Government Regulations website.
Press the ‘blue comment’ button on the right side of the page and feel free to cut/paste talking points below.
- Please be sure to join the “I Am Essential” Movement on behalf of Mexican gray wolves.
I oppose USFWS’ draft wolf delisting rule because:
- For Mexican gray wolves –
- The USFWS should not re-designate Mexican gray wolves as experimental, non-essential.
- The fourth generation of wild Mexican gray wolves is an essential part of recovering this unique subspecies of wolf. USFWS must put the rest of its proposed rule on hold and speed up approval for more direct releases into additional areas.
- The USFWS must also complete a comprehensive recovery plan and let the public see it before changing the current rule.
- The proposed rule effectively prevents wolves returning to places with suitable habitat. The USFWS should eliminate boundaries to the wolves’ movement.
- For gray wolves:
- Sixteen scientists expressed “serious concerns” with a recent draft rule to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 States. They do not believe that the rule reflects the conclusions of their work or the best available science concerning the recovery of wolves. They also do not believe the rule reflects the fundamental purpose of the Endangered Species Act to conserve endangered species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. By law, Endangered Species Act decisions are supposed to be governed by the best available science.
- There is a growing body of scientific literature demonstrating that top predators like wolves play critical roles in maintaining a diversity of other wildlife species and healthy, balanced ecosystems.
- The gray wolf has barely begun to recover or is absent from significant portions of its former range where substantial suitable habitat remains. The Service’s draft rule fails to consider extensive suitable habitat in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains and the Northeast. It also fails to consider the importance of these areas to the long-term survival and recovery of wolves, or the importance of wolves to the ecosystems of these regions.
* PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN TECH UNIVERSITY*