Wolves of the Lower 48 Slated to Lose Endangered Species Act Protections
Last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released a five year review for the wolf that recommends stripping Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from gray wolves across the lower 48 states. The agency recently indicated that it will move forward with this action as soon as this next month.
Will History Repeat Itself?
Wolves have been in the cross-hairs before. Wolves were persecuted so heavily in the past that by the mid-1900’s most lands in the lower 48 United States were void of this top predator. With the support of the American public, however, the wolf was able to return to some portions of its native range. In areas where wolves were restored like the northern Rocky Mountains and western Great Lakes states, scientists have noted more diverse plant and wildlife thriving where they had been suppressed for decades. Wolf recovery has just begun in large portions of the Pacific Northwest and California and has yet to really start in the southern Rocky Mountains and Northeast. In these areas, wolves may never recover if the USFWS executes their plan to delist nationwide.
If your hackles are up, you’re not alone. Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ed Markey (D-MA) are urging Congress to sign a letter to Director Ashe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that the agency retain ESA protections for gray wolves in areas where they have only just barely begun to recover, including the Pacific Northwest, California, southern Rocky Mountains and Northeast. The deadline to sign has been extended to March 1st and although several members have signed, many have yet to do so. If this is something that is important to you, please consider contacting your Representative to urge him or her to support the recovery of this misunderstood predator by signing onto Reps. DeFazio and Markey’s letter.
To date the signatories are: U.S. Representative’s Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Jim Moran (D-VA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), David Cicilline (D-RI), Michael M. Honda (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), William R. Keating (D-MA), James R. Langevin (D-RI), James A. Himes (D-CT), James P. McGovern (D-MA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Ron Barber (D-AZ), Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-NV), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jared Polis (D-CO), Gary Peters (D-MI), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Shea-Porter (D-NH), Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), John F. Tierney (D-MA), and Steve Israel (D-NY)
Locate your representative here.