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Bob Wayne Discusses Repercussions of Poor Science on Wolves

UCLA’s Conservation geneticist Bob Wayne was one of five reviewers on the independent panel of scientists commissioned by USFWS to provide an objective scientific review of the federal agency’s nationwide delisting proposal. Wayne discusses the scientific shortcomings of the proposal and its repercussions on one of America’s top predators on Public Radio International’s Living on Earth episode “Poor Science? Gray Wolf to Lose Federal Protection

Wayne and the other scientists on the review committee were 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.

Wayne doesn’t recall USFWS ever delisting a species due to a taxonomic change before, and believes USFWS’ plan to promote the Eastern wolf to a separate species with its own species name Canis lycaon, sets a very dangerous precedent and is a “taxonomic slight of hand” that science is unable to support.

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.