The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most of the gray wolves across the United States. This decision could forever change the future of gray wolves in our country.
The proposed delisting – a conservation tragedy – would prematurely turn wolf management over to the states, and we’ve already seen what can happen when state politics are allowed to trump sound science. More than 1,100 wolves have been killed in the Northern Rockies since Congress delisted them back in 2011 – an unprecedented action with political motivations. It was a bad idea to remove protections for gray wolves there, and it’s an even worse idea to remove them across most of the rest of the country! Not only is gray wolf recovery not complete – in some areas, it has barely begun.
Places like Oregon and Washington have just begun to welcome wolves back to their native range. And in other states where wolves used to live, recovery hasn’t even started – Colorado, Utah and California still possess some of our nation’s best wolf habitat. Gray wolves face rabid anti-wolf politics, aggressive lethal control, unsustainable hunting, intolerance and other threats across much of the U.S., and still haven’t returned to many parts of their historic range. How can FWS declare “mission accomplished” with so much work still ahead of us? They’re turning their backs on one of the best wildlife conservation stories in U.S. history before it’s finished.
We’re pulling out all the stops to urge the Department of the Interior to step up to its responsibilities and follow through on our nation’s commitment to restore gray wolves.