Last year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released a five year review for the gray wolf that recommended removing Endangered Species Act protections from wolves across the lower 48 states. FWS has indicated they may go forward with this plan as soon as this month.
The recovery of wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes are a remarkable conservation success story. They are also examples of how states will manage wolf populations once Endangered Species Act protections are removed. We now know that wolves can be shot on sight across much of Wyoming and some legislators in Montana have proposed a similar policy that would allow wolves to be shot at will on private lands. This is not science-based management.
Wolves benefit local economies through increased tourism and they enrich their environments, preventing overgrazing and benefiting species from pronghorn antelope, to songbirds and fish. Our country needs wolves. But wolves need protection to recover.
Still-recovering wolf populations in the southern Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, California, and the eastern U.S. would be left to be managed by states with often competing interests if Endangered Species Act protections are removed.
In areas where wolves have already lost Endangered Species Act protections, some states have allowed hunters to kill up to 60 percent of the existing populations--including wolf pups!Please ask FWS Director Dan Ashe to maintain these crucial safeguards for currently protected wolves.