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Wolves are in the News and Politics Again

Wolves, their recovery, and the status of this keystone predator in the United States have been hot topics in Washington D.C. lately. On December 1st, eight Western Caucus members introduced a bill called the “State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act,” legislation some refer to as the “Anti-Wolf Bill.” If this bill passes, all gray wolves in the U.S., including the few dozen Mexican gray wolves that currently remain in the wild, will lose their federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Eve Byron wrote an article for the Helena Independent Record (Wolf management hot topic in D.C.) about the House Representatives that introduced the bill and this legislation itself. According to the article, one of the eight representatives, Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg, said “After holding hearings in Montana and reading thousands of comments, it’s clear that folks in Western states like Montana are sick and tired of powerful environmental interest groups funded out of places like San Francisco and New York telling us how to manage our lands, resources and wildlife.” Indeed wolves do have some advocates here in NY. Just over a week ago the New York Times published an compelling editorial highlighting the threats to wolves and what’s required to return management authority to the states. Perhaps Rep. Rehberg isn’t aware that some wolf advocates are from his neck of the woods. During the week hundreds of hunters, ranchers, biologists, and business owners in Montana took to the airwaves to voice their support of wolf recovery.
Thankfully wolf advocates are speaking up in Washington D.C. as well. A dozen Democratic members of Congress have asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in a letter for positive changes in the Mexican Gray Wolf recovery program. The December 1st letter was signed by New Mexico Rep. Martin Heinrich and Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva and calls for five key recommendations including the release of 22 wolves — eight in Arizona and 14 in New Mexico — that are considered eligible for release under the program’s rules; and the retrieval of telemetry receivers loaned to private parties that alert ranchers and property owners when wolves are nearby. As reported the Albuquerque Journal, this letter was also signed by Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, four representatives from northern California and others from Tennessee, New York, Georgia, Indiana and Colorado. If you applaud these representatives, please send them a quick email to let them know that you appreciate their support for the Mexican gray wolf:
Congressman Raul Grijalva
Congressman Martin Heinrich
Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Congressman Jared Polis
Congressman Andre Carson
Congressman Sam Farr
Congressman Pete Stark
Congresswoman Nita Lowey
Congressman Mike Honda
Congressman John Lewis
Congressman Steve Cohen

I wonder what next week will bring…