Following receipt of an independent scientific peer review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reopened the comment period on its proposal to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List until March 27, 2014. The peer review, conducted by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service that the proposal to strip federal protections for gray wolves across nearly all of the lower 48 states was not based on the best available science. The Service is now in the process of finalizing the proposed rule, and has announced that any final action will be based on the best available information. Stay updated by visiting http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/.
On June 7, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to remove the gray wolf from the federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species throughout the contiguous United States and Mexico. If adopted, this rule would eliminate Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves.
Stripping gray wolves of ESA protections would reverse one of the most important species recovery programs in the country. The proposal comes despite USFWS's acknowledgement that the wolf is "an integral component of the ecosystems to which it typically belongs."
Gray wolves currently inhabit only about 5 percent of their historic range. USFWS states that "the ESA requires that we recover listed species such that they … are no longer in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future." Delisting the wolves, however, will effectively cut off further recovery and reintroduction of the gray wolf into its former territory, and once again expose the species to the same threats that led to its virtual extermination by hunters, ranchers, and state game agencies.
What You Can Do:
There's still time to comment! Please visit the comment page by the new deadline, March 27, 2014
December 17, 2013 October 28, 2013, and indicate your opposition to the proposed rule. Below, we have included some suggested talking points to include in your comments. Please note that on the comment page, the only required field is the comment box itself, but we do suggest that you personalize your message and include your full name, city and state so that the comments can have greater impact. The suggested talking points are as follows:
- Eliminating Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in the Lower 48 states will halt recovery and restoration efforts, where they still only occupy about 5 percent of their historic range. The draft rule fails to consider extensive suitable wolf habitat in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains, and the Northeast, and the importance of these areas to the long-term survival and recovery of wolves.
- The premature delisting of wolves in states such as Wyoming, Montana and Idaho has led to reckless efforts to gun down and trap as many wolves as possible, resulting in a race to the bottom for wolf management.
- Delisting will also negatively affect recent efforts on the west coast to restore wolves to more of their historic range in Washington, Oregon, and California and could result in the eradication of wolves from those states that still have very few wolves.
- A large group of scientists with expertise in carnivore taxonomy and conservation biology expressed serious concerns about removing ESA protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states, making the case that the proposed rule does not reflect best available science concerning the recovery of wolves, as mandated by the ESA.
- The extirpation of wolves and carnivores from large portions of the landscape carries broad ecological consequences. Top predators such as wolves play critical roles in maintaining a diversity of other wildlife species and in helping to maintain ecosystem health.
Please also share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to send a message to USFWS too.
As always, thank you very much for your help!