The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the federal agency charged with administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on land. wikipedia/Endangered Species Act The ESA was enacted by Congress in 1973 and has been called “the Magna Carta” of the environmental movement”. –Historian Kevin Starr, quoted in Wikipedia above.
USFWS is required to use fact and science to decide which wild creatures will be added to or removed from ESA protections. This is a tall order for a politically-impassioned reality that encompasses wolves. It seems fair to say that USFWS has not yet lived up to its mandate.
The currently-proposed USFWS rule would remove wolves from the ESA in the remaining 45 states where they continue to enjoy federal protection. USFWS recently extended the comment period on this proposed rule until March 27, 2014. The comment period was extended to give those interested an opportunity to speak about a recently-issued independent scientific peer review report on USFWS’s proposal.
This report was prepared by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara (NCEAS). It discusses the benefits wolves bring to ecosystems they inhabit and NCEAS’ conclusions that the present state of wolf recovery does not justify removing them from ESA protection.
It is important to understand what the proposed USFWS rule will and will not do. Wolves in three states – Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana – have already been removed from federal protection. This was accomplished a few years ago by congressional action on a “must-pass-or-the-government-will-cease-to-function” budget bill. This bill included the wolf de-listing proviso; many voted for it who might otherwise have opted to continue wolf recovery. The legislation stipulated that each of the three states submit to the USFWS a plan for the management of wolves within their state. When USFWS approved the plan, as it has done in all three states, hunting could begin. Wyoming’s “shoot on sight” management plan was approved and is in effect. Wolf numbers are down by huge percentages in these states.
Sadly, nothing about the proposed rule will change this. Wolf hunting in these three states will continue whether or not the proposed rule is promulgated. The only fix for Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where most wolves in the lower 48 are located, will be either congressional action or a wholesale change in attitude. The proposed rule anticipates removing federal protections for wolves elsewhere in the lower 48 states.
Nevertheless, opposing this rule is important. Wolves have not recovered; removing them from ESA protection throughout the U.S. would insure they never will.
Please raise your voices for those without a voice:
Submit your comment to USFWS by March 27 by following this link: