Archive for the ‘federal’ Tag

Stand4Wolves – WildEarth Guardians   2 comments

We’ve made a short film (above) about why wolves are so important to the landscape, and to all of us. The Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered species has us howlin’ mad. Please take a few moments to watch the film, share with your friends and family and take action to help save wolves from extinction.

Without the protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) wolves will be back in the crosshairs, subject to hunter’s traps, guns, and bows and to Wildlife Services’ poisons. Just last Saturday a two-year old female Yellowstone wolf wandered out of the safety of the Park and was shot and killed. This tragedy will happen over and over again across the West if Secretary Jewell removes critical protections for wolves.

As our film explains, wolves are critical ecological forces on the landscape, but they have only returned to 5% of their historic range. The job of wolf recovery is simply not done. Take action today to ensure these beautiful iconic animals are returned to ecosystems across our country where they are needed and where they belong.


Recent Proposal To Remove Protection For Wolves A Bad Move   Leave a comment

Recent Proposal To Remove Protection For Wolves A Bad Move

Recent Proposal To Remove Protection For Wolves A Bad Move

POSTED BY  ON TUE, JUN 11, 2013 AT 10:04 AM

The Obama Administration has recently announced a proposal to lift most federal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states.

An article from ABC by the Associated Press reads:


“State and federal agencies have spent more than $117 million restoring the predators since they were added to the endangered species list in 1974. Today more than 6,100 wolves roam portions of the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes.


With Friday’s announcement, the administration signaled it’s ready to move on: The wolf has rebounded from near-extermination, balance has been restored to parts of the ecosystem, and hunters in some states already are free to shoot the animals under state oversight.”


Hold on – what?

Because wolves are no longer “near-extermination,” hunters are allowed to shoot the animals again?

I understand that we can’t let a wolf population grow so large that it becomes impossible to contain, but I do feel that this decision was made a little carelessly.

The article goes on to explain that hundreds of wolves have been killed in recent years by “government wildlife agents responding to livestock attacks.”

By lifting wolf protections, ranchers will no longer have to suffer from their livestock being killed by wolves, apparently.

But what about areas that still have space for wolves? Areas that do not include farmland, that would ecologically benefit from having a wolf population? 

If hunters are allowed to shoot them again, how will they possibly continue to grow? And if hunted, won’t they start migrating into other territory, where they might not be wanted or needed? I may not be a wolf expert, but this decision seems a little counterproductive.

According to Defenders of Wildlife– 
“Wolves keep large herd animals in check, which can benefit numerous other plant and animal species. The carcasses of their prey also help to redistribute nutrients and provide food for other wildlife species, most notably other scavengers.”

Just like any animal, wolves play a huge role in the ecosystem. Taking away federal protection not only endangers the wolves themselves, it endangers the environment.


Gray Wolves have been hunted to near extinction.

  • Joel Sartore – National Geographic
  • Gray Wolves have been hunted to near extinction.


Luckily, the proposal has not been without a fight.

According to the same article from ABC, The Center for Biological Diversity has vowed to take court action against the government if the animals are removed from the endangered species list as planned.

The Center for Biological Diversity released a press release on Friday, including a letter to Washington, D.C. from some of the “world’s leading wolf researchers,” and a quote from Noah Greenwald, endangered species director, who stated, “This proposal is a national disgrace. Our wildlife deserve better.”

The letter begins:


As scientists with expertise in carnivore taxonomy and conservation biology, we are writing to express serious concerns with a recent draft rule leaked to the press that proposes to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 States, excluding the range of the Mexican gray wolf. Collectively, we represent many of the scientists responsible for the research referenced in the draft rule.
Based on a careful review of the rule, we do not believe that the rule reflects the conclusions of our work or the best available science concerning the recovery of wolves, or is in accordance with the fundamental purpose of the Endangered Species Act to conserve endangered species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.


The full letter can be found here.

It is truly heartbreaking to see such blatant disregard of our wildlife, especially against the word of reputable scientists around the country. I have to agree with Noah Greenwald on this one – The proposal is a national disgrace.

Shame on you, Obama Administration.

Mission Forgotten   3 comments

Mission Forgotten



Feds have lost their way on wolf recovery

When federal wolf recovery efforts began more than 25 years ago, I had very high hopes. I was working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species biologist at the time and remember thinking what an incredibly ambitious and inspiring project it was.

A decade later, I was honored to release three Mexican gray wolves to Arizona’s Apache National Forest as director of the Service. I’ll never forget looking into the crate and seeing in the wolf’s eyes the fierce green fire that inspired Aldo Leopold to develop his famous land ethic. Carrying those wolves into their new wild home, I felt a deep connection with both the animals and the great conservation leaders who came before me. It was thrilling to think that someday gray wolves would thrive once again across much of the West — a direct result of our collective efforts to bring them back.

Restoring a native predator to the American landscape represented a grand vision for the future of wildlife conservation. Not only was the federal government fighting to save imperiled species from extinction, it was also working hard to reintroduce animals that had been ruthlessly and foolishly eliminated decades earlier. I could think of no nobler and more worthy set of conservation values than those set forth in the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Fast forward to today. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced recently that it plans to prematurely delist wolves under the ESA and abandon their restoration efforts for gray wolves everywhere except for the Southwest. With wolves struggling to gain a toehold in the Northwest and still nonexistent in places with excellent suitable habitat like California, Utah and Colorado, the federal government is giving up on the dream of full gray wolf recovery. Put simply, they are quitting before their work is done.

Some 5,000 wolves currently inhabit six states in the lower 48. This is a marked improvement since the late ’80s when there were only a few hundred left in northern Minnesota. Yet, the reality is that the recovery of the species throughout key areas in the West remains as uncertain as ever. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have already started to drive their wolf populations down. Anti-wolf legislation has cropped up in Oregon and Washington, where there are presently only about 100 wolves. Utah’s legislature passed a bill several years ago banning wolves altogether. And without continued federal protection, we’re as likely to see sustainable populations of unicorns in five years in Colorado and California as we are to see sustainable populations of wolves.

By walking off the job before the task is done, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is redefining what it means to recover imperiled species…and not in a good way. The agency has adopted a shrunken vision of what wolf conservation is all about, failing to stick with the program until full recovery is achieved. We didn’t take this easy way out in recovering the bald eagle or the American alligator, and we shouldn’t do it now for wolves.

But this isn’t just about wolves or eagles. Sadly, what’s happening with wolves could become the new normal for federal endangered species recovery work nationwide. The premature national wolf delisting proposal signals a major shift in the conservation vision and philosophy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Optimism seems to be disappearing, and settling for second best seems to be settling in.

Wolf recovery was on the path to become one of our nation’s greatest conservation successes, but now that success is threatened because the federal government wants to wash its hands of the wolf. It’s a disappointing, far cry from the vision and boldness — the commitment to conserving our wildlife and natural resources — that used to characterize our nation’s stewardship goals.



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