I'm writing to you today to ask that you abandon and withdraw your proposal to strip Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection from nearly all gray wolves in the United States.
Since this proposal was announced, evidence has shown that the majority of Americans are opposed to this misguided plan. In fact, 16 of the nation's top wildlife scientists sent you a letter expressing deep concern that their own field research was being distorted in order to justify this delisting proposal.
The restoration of wolves has been hailed as one of the biggest successes of the Endangered Species Act since it was passed in 1973. But the important work of wolf recovery is unfinished. Delisting the gray wolf will halt four decades of progress in its tracks and expose America's wolves to unwarranted and unrestrained killing.
This is precisely what has happened in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, where the premature delisting of those states' wolf populations has led to the killing of more than 1,100 wolves. This race to the bottom in wolf management threatens to seriously undermine wolves' hard-won climb from the brink of extinction.
Delisting could also derail efforts to restore wolves to more of their historic range that has huge areas of suitable wolf habitat, including Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Utah and California.
Wolves are an iconic, native species that play a vital role in restoring healthy ecosystems by keeping prey species in balance. Places like the Olympic peninsula and the Colorado Rockies could benefit both ecologically and economically from the return of wolves.
Delisting would close the door on an historic opportunity to revitalize some of America's best remaining wildlife habitat by bringing back these important animals.
Someday, when wolves have recovered throughout most of their historic range out west, and when states refrain from managing their wolf populations in a politically driven race to the bottom, then delisting is an option worth debating. However, we are far from that day, and delisting now will be an avoidable conservation nightmare.
The ESA sets higher recovery standards than the ones that this delisting proposal is being based upon. I demand that you finish the job of wolf recovery -- not just for the sake of wolves, but for all species protected under the ESA.
Thank you for your consideration.
Defenders of Wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protection for most gray wolves across the United States. This decision could forever change the future of gray wolf conservation in our country.
Gray wolf recovery in the U.S. is not complete. These wolves face rabid anti-wolf politics, aggressive lethal control, unsustainable hunting, intolerance and other threats across the entire country, and haven't yet returned to suitable habitat in many parts of their historic range. By delisting them now, USFWS would be turning their backs on one of the best wildlife conservation stories in U.S. history before it's finished.
Please send an urgent message to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – demand that they withdraw their delisting proposal.