The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protections for most gray wolves across the United States.
The only good thing in the proposal to delist gray wolves is a plan to re-list Mexican wolves as an endangered subspecies in their own right. Please comment for the good of all wolves and include the following key points:
1. While giving Mexican wolves their own Endangered Species Act listing is long overdue, delisting gray wolves throughout the U.S. is counter to protecting Mexican wolves. Fewer than 80 Mexican gray wolves exist in the wild. New populations of these wolves are desperately needed for them to thrive. The best available science confirms that the Grand Canyon region and the Southern Rockies are essential for Mexican wolf recovery. But the proposed rule will leave gray wolves unprotected in these places, making the survival of Mexican gray wolves much more difficult should they expand into new areas.
2. Delisting gray wolves throughout the lower 48 is premature and contradicts the best available science. The gray wolf has barely begun to recover or is absent from significant portions of its former range where substantial suitable habitat remains. The USFWS 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. The very scientists whose research is referenced in the draft rule to remove the gray wolves’ protections have stated publicly that the science does not support the delisting.
3. The USFWS needs to quit stalling and complete a comprehensive recovery plan — and let the public see it — concurrently with re-listing the Mexican gray wolf. USFWS admits that their present, typewritten, 1982 recovery plan is not scientifically sound and does not meet current legal requirements. By delisting gray wolves in areas suitable for new Mexican wolf populations prior to completing the Recovery Plan that should plan for new populations, the USFWS is creating catch-22 obstacles to wolf recovery.
4. The USFWS proposal will prematurely turn wolf management over to the states, in spite of the unwillingness of states to manage wolves for recovery. Across the country, wolves face rabid anti-wolf politics, aggressive lethal control, unsustainable hunting, intolerance and other threats. In the Northern Rockies states, we’ve already seen what can happen when anti-wolf politics are allowed to trump science and core wildlife management principles.
Submit your comments here.
Or by mail to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, Virginia 22203
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