ACTION: give the North American gray wolf a chance
ORIGINAL POST: By the time the North American gray wolf became a protected species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, there were only a few hundred individuals remaining in the United States. Since that time, their recovery has been one of the ESA’s greatest success stories.
However, the North American gray wolf is once again facing a grave threat: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is proposing to remove ESA protections for gray wolves throughout the lower 48 states and Mexico.
As one among many Americans who love wolves, I urge anyone who cares about the future of the North American gray wolf to urge FWS Secretary Jewell to not go through with this proposal.
The proposed delisting comes far too soon for the gray wolf, whose populations have only just begun to recover in North America and only occupy five percent of its historic range. Should the gray wolf lose its endangered status, all of the progress that has been made to help wolf populations rebound in the U.S. will be jeopardized.
The wolf’s recovery in certain areas of the U.S. is something to celebrate, but has so far only occurred in limited ranges like the northern Rocky Mountains and the western Great lakes.
Wolves rely on connected populations in order to maintain their genetic viability. Inroads toward protecting vast, interconnected wolf habitats have only just begun. It must be acknowledged that only within recent years that wolves have begun to move into new regions like Washington, Oregon, and northern California. This progress, however, can only be maintained if federal protections remain in place.
The scientific community agrees that wolves should not be delisted. In the past, when regional wolf populations have been delisted, states have taken even more aggressive stands to combat the species’ survival.
In 2011, FWS delisted certain wolf populations in the western Great Lakes regions.
Since then, Wyoming has begun permitting wolves to be shot on sight across 85% of the state, and in some parts of Idaho, the wolf hunting season is nine months long. Allowing the wolf to once again face the imminent threat of extinction due to hunters’ desires to target these animals would be a national tragedy.
From now until October 28, please take action to protect wolves by commenting in opposition to the wolf delisting.