Gray wolves are under attack again. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced last week that it intends to eliminate Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves across the contiguous United States.
In the 48 contiguous states, hundreds of thousands of gray wolves once roamed. By the early 20th century, however, intensive predator control efforts had wiped out all but a few remnants of this population. Placed under ESA protection in the 1970s, the species began to return, but even today, only 5,000-6,000 gray wolves exist in the contiguous United States, occupying less than 10 percent of their historic range. Protecting these wolves and establishing wolf populations in remaining suitable habitat is crucial to the future of the species.
This proposed rule would cede management of the species to state agencies—several of which have shown an open hostility to wolf recovery programs and to predators in general. Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, where wolves were previously delisted, have already instituted wolf hunting seasons that permit cruel killing methods. Wolves in these states have legally been snared and caught in barbaric steel-jaw leghold traps; Wyoming has even allowed wolves to be run over by snowmobiles and ATVs, poisoned, incinerated in their dens with gas or dynamite, and gunned down from aircraft.
The USFWS is accepting comments from the public on its delisting proposal. Please contact the USFWS before the May 14 deadline asking the agency to uphold its conservation mandate and maintain ESA protections for gray wolves. (Note: When you submit comments through AWI's website, your name and comments will be publicly viewable on the official comment page at Regulations.gov.) You may also submit your comments directly at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FWS-HQ-ES-2018-0097-0001.
If you live in Sacramento, Denver, or Portland:
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is refusing to hold public hearings in key locations around the country during the comment period on the agency’s proposal to delist gray wolves. Therefore, activists are organizing the hearings themselves, and submitting the transcripts to the USFWS to be included in the public record. These hearings are a vital forum for voicing opposition to the proposed delisting, and there is one planned for your city.
When: Monday, April 29, 6:30-9 pm
Where: The Alliance Center, 1536 Wynkoop Street, Denver
When: Thursday, May 2, 6:15-8:15 pm
Where: Grand Hall at Clunie Community Center, 601 Alhambra Blvd, Sacramento
When: Monday, May 6, 5:30-8 pm
Where: DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, 1000 NE Multnomah Street, Portland. Activists will meet up shortly ahead of the hearing outside the USFWS office at 911 NE 11th Ave (one block away from the hotel).
Be sure to share our eAlert with family, friends, and co-workers in your district, and encourage them to submit a comment, too. Thank you for all you do for animals!