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Blog: Some Gray Wolf Peer Review Panel Members Axed By USFWS

The Wildlife News, Ralph Maughan, August 8, 2013  (posted 08/10/13)

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Washington D.C. At the federal level, there appears to be more crude, heavy-handed politics in the delisting of the gray wolf.

Three prominent scientists, experts on wolves, were just cut from the committee at the insistence of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because they signed a letter with 13 other wolf scientists expressing concern about the scientific basis for the federal plan.

USFWS has had a hard time finding experts who have not made public statements on wolves. The actions of these three signing the critical letter seems to have reduced the pool of experts still further. The ten member committee is now down to seven experts who seem to have been silent over the many year period the controversy has raged.

According the P.E.E.R. (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility) “The FWS disqualification of scientists appears at odds with White House Office of Management & Budget guidance which states that selection of peer reviewers should be primarily driven by expertise of the reviewer, followed by a need for balance to reflect competing scientific viewpoints followed by their independence from the agency. — independent from FWS.

The federal wolf de-listing plan is under accelerated peer review. The review is being done by consulting firm, AMEC, chosen by FWS. The cuts were made over the objections of AMEC. According to P.E.E.R. one of the three scientists cut was told by AMEC, “I apologize for telling you that you were on the project and then having to give you this news. I understand how frustrating it must be, but we have to go with what the service [sic] wants.”

The three now excluded scientists are Dr. Roland Kays of North Carolina State University, Dr. Jon Vucetich of Michigan Technological University and Dr. Robert Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles.

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This blog was posted to The Wildlife News on August 8, 2013.

Follow this link to submit your comments to the Fish and Wildlife Service.  Insist that the best available science be used in their decision making process.  Talking points are included.
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Photo credit:  Scott Denny