Nearly 500,000 More Americans Speak Out Against Federal Plan to Strip Wolves of Protections

California Wolf Center * Cascadia Wildlands * Center for Biological Diversity * Defenders of Wildlife Earthjustice * Epic-Environmental Protection Information Center * Endangered Species Coalition Humane Society of the United States * Klamath Forest Alliance * Living with Wolves * National Parks Conservation Association * Natural Resources Defense Council * Northeast Oregon Ecosystems Oregon Wild * Project Coyote * Sierra Club * Western Watersheds Project
WildEarth Guardians * Wildlands Network * Wolf Conservation Center


For Immediate Release, March 31, 2014


Contact:            Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition, (202) 320-6467
Melanie Gade, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0288
Kierán Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 275-5960
Josh Mogerman, Natural Resources Defense Council,  (773) 531-5359
Sean Stevens, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6343 x211
Kari Birdseye, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2098
Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center, (914) 763-2373

Nearly 500,000 More Americans Speak Out Against Federal Plan to Strip Wolves of Protections
 Scientific Peer Review Questioning Wolf Proposal Prompts Many to Write Administration


WASHINGTON—More than 460,000 Americans filed official comments calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to scrap its controversial proposal to remove federal protections from the gray wolf and instead work to advance wolf recovery in the United States.  A scientific peer review released in early February 2014 unanimously concluded that a federal plan to drop protections for most gray wolves was not based on the best available science.

These new comments and the results of the scientific peer review follow on the heels of the submission of approximately one million comments in late 2013 requesting that FWS continue to protect gray wolves. These comments represent the highest number of submissions ever to FWS on an endangered species, showing America’s overwhelming support for the charismatic wolf.

“When it comes to taking the wolf off of the endangered species list, Secretary Jewell told the public, ‘It’s about the science. And you do what the science says.’ It’s now time to stand by both her stated commitment to follow science and the will of the American people. She must immediately rescind the wolf delisting rule,” said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “As the top official in charge of wildlife and wild places, Secretary Jewell should ensure that gray wolves have the chance to fully recover wherever there is suitable habitat. Policy decisions about wolves and other wildlife should be based on the best science, not politics.”

“Science should be the lynchpin of every species listing decision and science should be the most significant factor guiding decisions on what ‘recovery’ looks like for our nation’s imperiled plants and animals,” said Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark.  “The Fish and Wildlife Service should withdraw the delisting proposal for wolves and instead put science first to chart a sustainable recovery path for wolves throughout the U.S.”

“It’s time for the Obama administration to acknowledge what a growing number of Americans and our top scientists see very clearly — America’s gray wolves still need federal protection,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “That’s what the public comment period and scientific peer review is all about – to make sure we get it right when it comes to protecting our most imperiled species. Now the only question is whether the Obama administration will follow the science or the politics.”

There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals were driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves currently live in the continental United States — a fraction of the species’ historic numbers.

“Instead of restoring wolves to their rightful places from coast to coast — as it did for bald eagles – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to abandon wolf recovery before the job is done,” said Marty Hayden, Earthjustice vice-president for policy and legislation. “More than a million people have now told FWS to go back to work and protect our wolves.”

Last year the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states. The Obama administration’s proposal would remove protections for wolves everywhere except Arizona and New Mexico, where the Mexican wolf is struggling to survive with just 83 wolves in the wild.  This proposal would abandon protections for wolves in places where recovery remains in its infancy, such as Oregon and Washington, and would prevent wolves from recovering in places where good wolf habitat has been identified, including northern California, the southern Rocky Mountains and the Northeast.

Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife protection for The Humane Society of the United States said: “After the federal government prematurely gave up its duty to protect wolves, the states of Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming all rushed to hold hunting and trapping seasons. Thousands of wolves have been barbarically killed over bait, with hounds and cable neck snares. The Service’s proposal puts politics over its obligation to use the best available science, and threatens wolves with the risk of being driven back to near extinction.”

“Oregon wolves have taken the first tentative steps towards recovery in the last few years,” said Sean Stevens, executive director with Oregon Wild. “If the Obama administration takes away the strong protections of the Endangered Species Act, we pull the rug out from the fragile success story here on the West Coast and leave the fate of wolves in the hands of state agencies in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming who have proven incapable of balanced management.”

“We have unique opportunities and challenges here in the Northeast,” said Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center. “The Northeast Wolf Coalition is working together using the most current peer reviewed science to raise awareness and increase public understanding about wolves.  A broad base of public support is necessary for wolves to recover and we remain committed to ensuring that stakeholders become active stewards in that regard. There are biological, economic and ethical reasons to facilitate wolf recovery  and the Coalition is eager to work with area residents, organizations, and state and federal agencies  to promote the wolf’s natural return to our region.”
“More than one million American’s have made their views clear to the Service: A large majority of the public want wolves back on the landscape and it’s too premature to hand over management to states where the trap and bullet still define predator management,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote founder & executive director.  “It’s time that the Service employ best science and not allow special interests to dictate wolf management in this country.”

“Removing protections from the wolf makes it difficult for national parks like Olympic and Crater Lake to be as wild and wonderful as they should be,” said Rob Smith, Northwest Regional Director for National Parks Conservation Association.  “The parks need wolves and visitors want them there.”

When a young person asked Interior Secretary Jewell about wolves in a public forum in June 2013, Jewell replied, “[The removal of Endangered Species Act protections] is not something I actually have a choice (sic). It’s about science and you do what the science says.” See the video here:

The group Kids 4 Wolves followed that with their own amazing video,  The video features children from across the country urging Sec. Jewell to follow the science and keep wolves protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The independent scientific peer review released in early February was commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conducted by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.  The panel of independent scientists concluded unanimously that FWS’s national wolf delisting rule does not currently represent the “best available science.”  In light of these findings, FWS’s proposed delisting rule contravenes the Endangered Species Act, which mandates that protection decisions must be based on the best available science.

“The effort to cut legal protections for wolves ran headlong into actual science and lost”, said Andrew Wetzler, Director of Land and Wildlife Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It is time for the Fish & Wildlife Service to rethink their effort. And this new flood of comments shows the public will be watching the Obama Administration and expect the science to end this delisting campaign”.

In addition to the nearly half a million comments submitted by the American public in recent weeks, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee Peter DeFazio (D-OR) released a bipartisan letter co-signed by 73 House members urging Secretary Jewell to continue protections for gray wolves and rescind the proposed delisting rule immediately.


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26 comments on “Nearly 500,000 More Americans Speak Out Against Federal Plan to Strip Wolves of Protections

  1. Sec. Jewelle, Please conserve our wolves. They balance the entire Eco system. We are over 1 million strong asking you to listen to us and follow the science.
    If you fail to understand that, then you are in the wrong job. You are not irreplaceable and we WILL come for your job! All 1 million of us after your job.

    1. I agree also.we are endangering our ecosystem.we will vote against congress that is against the Enndangered Species Act if we do not see a change.JEWELL HAS THE WRONG JOB.SHE MUST GO.

  2. Keep all species of wolves safe and protected under the Endangered Species Act. They are essential to bringing balance to the ecosystem. I love wolves and wildlife, and I VOTE.

  3. leave the wolves alone, do not pursue, kill, or otherwise harrass them. they do NOT belong to you and have as much right, or more, as you to exist where they are. go do something kind and positive instead, buy therapy dogs for veterans, create organic gardens. stop killing animals and people.

  4. These beautiful animals have a right to live on this earth as much as any living thing on this earth.please stop these brutal killings.! They to have the right to live peaceful like us humans do.I find it very heartbreaking to hear of these brutal killings.

  5. Listen to science, listen to the american people. Trust when we say your job is on the line. Better yet think about the legacy you leave behind. Wolves must stay on the endangered list. I also vote as do my friends. Do not let big money ranchers alter the facts. The facts are clear. Wolves must be protected.

  6. Americans wake up and protect your assets, the wolves are part of the land!
    They are not enemies, they are predators that has the right to coexist, despite, selfish
    And corrupt Authorities, ranchers and hunters that want to benefit of the wolves preys.
    Sterilization, collaring and relocation are human methods of population control.
    Are we savages that kill what we bothers us or are we a developed country that CARES?
    We care for the other side of the world people and try to put our nose in everybody else’s business. Why don’t we start making peace with our own creatures, in their lands?
    Stop being hypocrites, and Take care of your own issues, not with guns, we cannot be at war
    With our own people and those who inhabit our land.
    All those that are governors, mayors even the President of the USA; do what you preach! Be an example for other nations to follow!

  7. Each of us and all of us are the children of “Mother Earth”…the wolves are no exception…they are also “Her” children! Let the wolves live out their lives in peace…as it should be for all of us!

  8. PLEASE listen to the experts, leave the Eco System alone, to do its job naturally. Do the right thing.. they are Endangered, so protect them.

  9. The destruction of our wolves is absolutley horrifying. Not only has this administration not done ANYTHING to help the environment like they said they would, but they are also murdering our animals. I will not stand for this! SAVE THE WOLVES!

  10. Secretary Jewell- over 1 MILLION citizens of our country
    Have spoken Loudly to you and your ” good buddies”
    In Idaho. The Scientific Data clearly shows
    That the Grey Wolf and the Red Wolves have
    NOT yet recovered from the last time they were
    Not protected! Open Your Eyes , open Your ears,
    OPEN your HEART tonight- and understand what
    You MUST DO now.. Relist wolves to endangered species
    List , you cannot ignore 1 million hearts and growing !

  11. All animals have rights. Just because we are capable of taking and using what’s there for out benefit, does not make it right or the needed thing to do. These animals are a part of an Eco system created bound our time. And we have no right to modify it. There are many ways to coexist. I stand for the animals. The planet, and our universe.

  12. Please, for the sake of all mankind and our posterity, keep our wolves protected! Help return our ecosystem to its natural balance. Allow our children and grandchildren the opportunity to live in a world where species diversity and balance are valued and protected!

  13. We owe it to ours & future generations to bring back healthy & complete ecosystems. Science has repeatedly stated that the top predators are absolutely necessary to create a viable, truly sustainable ecosystem.

    Many ranchers have found methods that strongly deter, or even completely prevent, predation by wolves, without killing them. These are tried & true methods, being tested & attested to by ranching families, in business for several generations.

    It seems so simple really. What is going on now is a slaughter. The Little Red Riding Hood syndrome. It has no place anymore, except in fairy tales.

  14. Secretary Jewell,
    Your retrogressive policies reflect neither ethics, reason or science. Shamelessly we have returned to the wolf pogram of 100 years ago, before the emergence of ecology and our understanding of ecosystem function. How shameless of the FWS to bow to what clearly are political interests at the expense of our (all of our) wildlife. Take courage and stand in service to wildlife.

  15. It is not only USFWS that is bowing to what are clearly political interests and killing wolves and all wildlife to satisfy their agendas. It is not just Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior. No, the actual buck stops on the desk of President Barack Obama. Thank you to Jeff Ruch, Executive Director of PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility). Obama made a deal to accept Dane Ashe as director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to appease Western REPUBLICANS upset about many things, including continuing protection for wolves. I hope people wake up in November for the mid term elections. I also hope we have enough wildlife left by the time we can get Obama out of office.

  16. Please do not delist wolves from the endangered species list. Predators are important in the ecology of this beautiful country .They are not a nuisance or a product to be culled by hunters trappers & wolf haters

  17. I have been a fan of wolves since I was very Young! My love for them was solidified when I read “Never Cry Wolf” by Farley Mowat way back then! Everybody should read that book and join in the fight to save these magnificent creatures! Count me in!

  18. Please save the wolves ,, they were put on this Earth for a reason as well as you and me ,, Thank You.

  19. I refuse to vote or support any person(s) in office or otherwise who think that something such as this will not be a huge detriment to the ecological system and nature as a whole.

    Have you done any research lately? How many more species will go to the ‘endangered’ list, and how many of those endangered will become extinct before ‘those with the power’ use that power and do something to reverse it before it’s too late?

    Other than rounding up what packs are left and placing them all in zoos, which is “imprisonment for their own good” to any wild creature, just remember this:

    Endangered is just ONE STEP ABOVE extinction.

    Please do not lift the protections.

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