Feds Mulling Plan to Open Wolf Slaughter Nationwide
After having removed the endangered species protections for the gray wolf in five states, the federal government is now considered removing those protections in the rest of the lower 48 states.
Ironically (or is it "tragically"?), the US Fish and Wildlife Service said it is considering this move because we now have "robust" wolf populations in the U.S. thanks to endangered species act protections, which F&W calls "one of the world’s great conservation successes."
The success of protecting wolves as an endangered species should not be a reason to resume the slaughter than put wolves on the Endangered Species List in the first place — especially when the decision is being guided in large part by hunters who just want something else to shoot dead.
Ranchers have exaggerated claims of livestock kills in order to convince federal officials to drop the endangered species protections in the Great Lakes and North Rockies regions. The wolves were on the Endangered Species List because hunting had driven them to the edge of extinction, and the wolves' recovery is a success we should applaud, not use as an excuse to resume the same behavior that pushed them to the brink of extinction.
According to the Fish and wildlife service, 801 of the the approximately 1600 confirmed wolves alive in the Northern Rockies region were killed in 2012 alone. At that pace, there wont be any wolves left alive by the end of the decade.
Don Barry, a former Interior Department assistant secretary under President Bill Clinton and now a vice president at Defenders of Wildlife, told the Associated Press, “there’s a race to the bottom to see who can be more anti-wolf. They’re basically giving up on wolf recovery before the job is done.”
Wolves are a maligned misunderstood species that are in fact filled with empathy, compassion and loyalty.
Jim and Jamie Dutcher recently published a great book called The Hidden Life of Wolves, which recounts a six-year study of a wolf pack in Idaho where the Dutchers lived among the wolves.
“Wolves — curious, caring, and intelligent — share strong social bonds, wolves watch over each other, nurture their injured, and raise their pups among their family groups," they wrote. "By hunting together to feed the pack, wolves redistribute elk and deer and allow overgrazed trees and shrubs to rebound. As wolves restore natural order to ecosystems, they undo damage done long ago.”
We need to respect this natural order and stop the government from redoing the damage that hunters inflicted on this amazing species a century ago. Please sign our petition asking new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to end the wolf slaughter.