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Call on Secretary Jewell to Withdraw USFWS’s Delisting Proposal

USFWS Draft Rule “Regarding Status of the Wolf Under the Endangered Species Act”

On June 7, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officially announced its proposal to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the contiguous United States.  Federal ESA protections would remain only for the small population of Mexican gray wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) in the desert Southwest.  In addition to maintaining protection for the Mexican wolf, the Service is also proposing to and expand recovery efforts and recognize this southernmost gray wolf in North America as a distinct sub-species of the gray wolf.

Required: Objective Scientific Review

The ESA requires USFWS to base all listing and delisting decisions on the best available science.  Thus when determining whether or not to end endangered species protection, federal law requires that an independent panel of scientists be commissioned to provide an objective scientific review of the federal agency’s proposals.

Peer Review Findings

On February 7, 2014, USFWS released the Independent Peer review of its wolf delisting plan. The five member panel of scientists  agreed unanimously that the delisting rule is based on insufficient science.

Map: Science and Nature (ScienceMag.org)

The review committee was particularly critical of the Service’s determination that the gray wolf never occurred in 29 eastern states. Based in part on preliminary conclusions from a single 2012 paper written by biologists employed by USFWS, the Service contended  that the eastern half of the U.S. was occupied by Canis lycaon or the “eastern wolf,” a distinct species of wolf and not belonging to the gray wolf species, Canis lupus.

Under the ESA, USFWS is obligated to recover endangered species across a “significant portion” of its historic range.  If the eastern half of the U.S. was never a part of the gray wolf’s historic range, USFWS contends that Canis lupus (a.k.a. gray wolves) now occupy enough of its historic range to be considered recovered. Thus, USFWS made its determination that gray wolves no longer warrant ESA protection.

The peer review reported  that “there is not currently sufficient scientific support for the recognition of C. lycaon [eastern wolf] as a separate species… thus  ”there was unanimity among the panel that the [delisting] rule does not currently represent the ‘best available science.’ ”

In a Feb. 10 critique, “Service Manufactures Scientific Studies to Support Politically Negotiated Deals” Public Employees for Environmental Responsibly (PEER) reported that Dave Parsons, FWS’ first Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator from 1990-1999 and primary author of the Mexican gray wolf rule that would be replaced by the proposed FWS plan, has been unambiguously critical. He stated, “Based on my observations over the years, political influence and pressure has so pervaded the FWS hierarchy that professional staff feel so helpless, demoralized, and in fear of career repercussions that they dare not defy orders from higher authorities….Has FWS completely lost its soul and dedication to its mission?”

What about the Mexican Gray Wolf?

Although the peer review reported that USFWS draft rule is flawed, both the Service and the independent scientists agree Mexican gray wolves are a distinct sub-species of the gray wolf.

Call on Secretary Jewell to Withdraw USFWS’s Delisting Proposal.

The value and importance of conserving endangered species and ensuring biodiversity is an accepted axiom of the 21st century. The importance of a keystone predator such as the gray wolf to a balanced ecosystem is undeniable. That our policies would and should be motivated by the best available scientific principles is critical.

Wildlife and other natural resources are a public trust which means that every citizen has an interest and a voice in the management of natural resources.  The public trust is a legal concept that implies that we all share equal, undivided interests in America’s wildlife. The public trust doctrine imposes limits on governments to ensure public access to and protection of important natural resources.

Thus, decision-making and resulting wildlife policy should be developed based on sound science and carried out in a democratic manner responsive to the voice of the people.

In response to the peer review, USFWS has again opened public comment on its wolf delisting proposal for 45 days until March 27th. Please join the Wolf Conservation Center and Stand For Wolves -  Call on Secretary Jewell to withdraw USFWS’s delisting proposal.

COMMENT HERE

Talking Points

  • Beyond its role as a living symbol of our natural landscape, the wolf is a keystone species.  Its presence is critical to maintaining the structure and integrity of native ecosystems.  Federal protections for wolves are essential to help this animal recover and expand into still-suitable parts of its former range, just as the bald eagle was allowed to do before having its federal protections removed.
  • The ESA requires USFWS to base all listing and delisting decisions on the best available science.  A panel of independent scientists who  was commissioned to give an objective review agree unanimously that the delisting rule is based on insufficient science.
  • Modern scientific evidence shows that top predators like wolves play critical roles in maintaining a diversity of other wildlife species and healthy, balanced ecosystems. The gray wolf has barely begun to recover or is absent from significant portions of its former range where substantial suitable habitat remains in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains, Southwest and the Northeast. These areas are important to the long-term survival and recovery of wolves and to the ecosystems of these regions.
  • Scientists unanimously agree that Mexican gray wolves should be listed as a separate endangered subspecies.  With only 83 remaining on the wild landscape at the end of 2013, it is essential that the Service list Mexican wolves immediately without waiting to see what happens with the USFWS’ nationwide treatment of the gray wolf.

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    29 Responses to Call on Secretary Jewell to Withdraw USFWS’s Delisting Proposal

    1. rehana vn says:

      Wolves are an essential part of ecology.Do not destroy what Nature created for & with a purpose. These awesome animals have as much right to life as you & I.

    2. yvonne says:

      So wrong.

    3. jean german says:

      why can we not protect all things and try to understand them with the technology available why do we act like cavemen

    4. I support the WCC asking you Secretary Jewell to Withdraw USFWS’s Delisting Proposal.

    5. l.a.mullinax says:

      Please do not take the gray wolf off the endangered species list.we nesteed it to keep the balance of things.also it is a beautiful animal and deserves the right to live like any other animal.thank you for listening to me.lana mullinax

    6. Stanley Noel says:

      By removing the grey wolf from the endangered species list you will not only endanger them, but the mexican wolf and any possible survivors of the eastern wolf or eastern crossed wolfs thereby removing any chance of restoring them. I say this because most people Will Not Know the difference and will be killing them indiscriminately without regard to which species.

    7. letty williams says:

      Please save our wolves. Don’t forget about our animals. They are a part of our American Heritage. Someone have to defend them. Please care about these wonderful creatures.

    8. SA Block says:

      I only ask that you start looking at hard FACTS and actual SCIENCE as you consider your actions. Every state that has delisted the wolf has used false data, outright lies and the wants and needs of special interest groups. This should be about the wolf, the ecosystem and the balance of nature, not who can profit from it.

    9. Sabine Bednar says:

      I live in Canada and I will make sure I never visit that horrible city. I have a lot of relatives over seas and I will make sure they do the same and to spread the word in their countries on what disgraceful people live in Idaho.

    10. Dana Baker-Pearlman says:

      I live in Michigan and Gray wolves are under attached in our Upper Peninsula. The hunting, trapping, and poisoning of wolves is WRONG! My family comes from the U.P. and Northern Michigan. We are accustomed to living with bears and wolves. The move in Idaho, as well as here in Michigan…in Minnesota and Wisconsin…nothing but pure GREED.

    11. Shelly Duquette says:

      please save the wolves! They are an essential part of the eco system. They were created for a reason. And to disrupt that balance has a huge ripple effect. People are extremely arrogant and think that everything is theirs for the taking. We just need to man up and coexistence! Save the Wolves!

    12. Jessie Hodges says:

      Don’t delist such an amazing animal that is essential to nature. Hunters and ranchers will wipe them out

    13. mimi says:

      Cruel and barbaric habits, you have. leave the animals in peace. Antropocentrism has ended long ago

    14. Roger Hewitt says:

      How much proof does USFWS need to prove that wolves should not be delisted? What we have is political management of a species, particularly in MT-WY-ID-WI. Wyoming has them classified as varmints in most of the state. Montana’s new rules allow ranchers to shoot any wolf they see as “threatening”, which means any wolf they see, and proposes to have year around trapping. Idaho is having wolf and coyote contests for cash and has hired a hunter to kill a couple of packs deep in a wilderness area arguing that it is in defense of elk herds. The Governor of ID wants to set aside 2 million dollars to drive down the wolf population to marginal, delisting levels. Wisconsin is using dogs. MT-WY-ID-WI are obviously marginalizing this apex predator which is not good ecology for trophic cascade of effects; with hunters (sports killing) and ranchers and these state wildlife agencies having unhealthy effects on ecology. We are rapidly getting back to the 1800′s in wolf massacring states. Wolf management–they do not generally need management, should be out of the states’ hands. The states mentioned are way too hostile, and controlled by historic hostile elements. They are promoting two myths despite contrary evidence: Wolves do not kill too many elk and their impact on cattle is less than 0.002%. These states are run by rancher and hunter folklore, myths and lies and their ilk in the state wildlife agencies and legislatures, with so far the only exception being OR and somewhat WA. OR is the model wolf management state, allowing the killing of only chronic offenders, not general wolf killing, and requiring that nonlethal management be in place and tried. The throwback (1800’s) wolf massacre states are mismanaging wolves. If the states, particularly the ones mentioned, were forced to live with wolves for a number years and focus on nonlethal management, per the Oregon model, they might get use to the idea and wolves would have a chance, but not at the present time.

      References:

      http://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/management_plan.asp

      http://missoulian.com/news/local/environmentalists-ask-idaho-judge-to-halt-wolf-derby/article_85ec58d2-6c34-11e3-be5c-001a4bcf887a.html

      http://missoulian.com/news/local/idaho-group-sponsors-youth-wolf-coyote-derby/article_de89fb6e-6781-11e3-9a45-0019bb2963f4.html

      http://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/oregon-panel-oks-last-resort-wolf-killing-rule/

      MT Stock Loss Board

      MT FWP

      Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

      The Wolf Almanac by Robert Busch

      The Hidden Life of Wolves by Jamie and Jim Dutcher

      Exposing the Big Game by Jim Robertson

    15. Roger Hewitt says:

      Eastern wolf or gray wolf of the Midwest (timber wolf) and West ranging to deep south. What difference does it make? The gray wolf was exterminated, except maybe isolated remnants in the Northwest USA. Any wolf, no matter the taxonomy mainly by geography was exterminated or nearly so in the USA, with only remnants remaining. Wolves traveled and intermingled across lands that at one time had no man made geographical boundaries, and continued to do so afterward mans’ geography. Wolves may change with regard to size or fur color in different regions, but are still wolf. It seems that wrong distinctions are being emphasized here and absurd arguments by USFWS for delisting (politically motivated) and wolf biologists nitpicking and exaggerating relatively small differences. To the extent that there are viable niches for the gray wolf, or red wolf, or eastern wolf, then they should be protected until they have filled those niches. Then we should not play nature management Gods by then trying to control natural migrations and mixing as this is what they did before. The wolf is good for any true wilderness ecology, flora and fauna, in which they formerly occupied; so let man facilitate a return not block it.

    16. please help the wolves, please save them, they have as much right to live as we have.listen too your heart and soul,please.

    17. Jen Cohen says:

      Wolves are an absolute essential piece of the system! Everything relies on everything else! Without the wolves many other species and habitats will be in jeopardy! Please review the true facts about the positive role the wolves play on our world!

    18. pamela flanagan says:

      Senator Jewell, please do not take the Gray Wolves off the endangered species list. You will have every Elmer Fudd out there hunting and trapping these poor creatures. Please have a care and defend them.

    19. Cheryl Moore says:

      “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

      The wolves make everything in nature healthier and stronger. They are absolutely necessary predators. Without the wolves, the balance will tip and we all suffer. Your actions are being heard around the world. Don’t be foolish. Stand for the wolves.

    20. Shelly Bissett says:

      I’m speechless. I don’t think any words will work on people motivated by hatred & greed. I pray that we all come to our senses & protect the home our Creator provided for us… & ALL His creatures. His plan works if people will just leave nature alone. Wolves are an essential piece of this beautiful system…

    21. Michael Guest says:

      I am urging you to reject this proposal. Keep the wolves protected. They need our help more than ever. Get this message clearly.

    22. Lisa Baldwin says:

      A panel of INDEPENDENT scientists who was commissioned to give an objective review AGREE UNANIMOUSLY that the delisting rule is based on INSUFFICIENT science.
      So, I’m asking you, Secretary Jewell to Withdraw USFWS’s Delisting Proposal and insist on SUFFICIENT science.
      Thank you.

    23. Kristen says:

      Don’t let wolves suffer from the flaw of man. Be their voice and give them justice!

    24. Julia Milford says:

      Mrs. Jewell please stop the delisting of wolves. These animals are ESSENTIAL. You know this. Thesebeautiful animals have a right to live and raise there familys without the bureau cratic government butting in. Ranchers need to learn to coexsist and stop trying to destory the wildlife that has just as much of a right to live as there live stock.There are ways they can do this. I’m asking as a citizen of this country to please stop the delisting of wolves.

    25. THE KILLING OF THESE SACRID ANIMALS MUST STOP. THE WOLVES AND THE BISON WERE PUT HERE WAY BEFORE MAN WAS. THEY WERE PUT HERE TO KEEP A NATURAL BALANCE OF THE ECO SYSTEM.WHAT MAN DOES NOT UNDERSTAND, HE DETROYS.IT WAS BAD ENOUGH THAT OUR LAND WAS TAKEN FROM US, MUST YOU NOW TAKE OUR WILD LIFE.

    26. cynthia brock says:

      the wolves was here before we were. we are the guilty ones we stoled all of their land to put roads,building,and so on. we are the ones who have taken away all of their land to hunt and live. please let the wolves live in peace.

    27. rehana vn says:

      Wolves are ESSENTIAL & PRECIOUS for the ecosystem. SAVE THEM!Let COMMON SENSE PREVAIL!

    28. Dana Sonnenschein says:

      What may seem merely a matter of semantics or politics to a non-scientist (the claim that gray wolves never inhabited the eastern portion of the U.S.)is a killer distinction and one that the group of independent scientists who reviewed the recent delisting decision agreed was not based on sufficient evidence. As noted by the Wolf Conservation Center, the Endangered Species Act “requires USFWS to base all listing and delisting decisions on the best available science,” and “[m]odern scientific evidence shows that top predators like wolves play critical roles in maintaining a diversity of other wildlife species and healthy, balanced ecosystems. The gray wolf has barely begun to recover or is absent from significant portions of its former range where substantial suitable habitat remains in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains, Southwest and the Northeast. These areas are important to the long-term survival and recovery of wolves and to the ecosystems of these regions.” As a resident of New England, I hope that some day the wildernesses of our region will support a population of wild wolves, and that’s never going to happen if spurious claims that the gray wolf has recovered are allowed to justify delisting. As we can see from recent reports about the numbers of wolves shot in Idaho and Wisconsin (for example), delisting amounts to making it open season on wolves.

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