Americans Speak Out Against Stripping Federal Protections From Wolves

Animal Welfare Institute * California Wolf Center * Cascadia Wildlands * Center for Biological Diversity * Conservation Northwest * Defenders of Wildlife * Earthjustice * Endangered Species Coalition Environmental Information Protection Center * Environmental Action * International Fund for Animal Welfare * Kansas Wild * Living with Wolves * National Parks Conservation Association * Natural Resources Defense Council * Oregon Wild * Project Coyote * Sierra Club * The Humane Society of the United States * WildEarth Guardians * Wolf Conservation Center

For Immediate Release, December 17, 2013

Contact: Kierán Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity, (520) 275-5960

Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition, (202) 320-6467

Melanie Gade, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0288

Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild, (503)283-6343

Approximately One Million Americans Speak Out Against Stripping Federal Protections From Wolves

Federal Proposal Would Halt Wolf Recovery, Allow More Wolf Killing

Washington, DC— Approximately one million Americans stated their opposition to the Obama administration’s proposal to strip endangered species protections from gray wolves in a comment period that closed today. This is the largest number of comments ever submitted on a federal decision involving endangered species and reflects broad dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s politically driven move to turn wolf management over to states across most of the lower 48.

“Americans overwhelmingly oppose removing protections for wolves, and for good reason. Wolves have recovered to just a fraction of their range and are severely threatened by state-sanctioned hunts intended to decimate them,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope the Obama administration will hear the pleas of hundreds of thousands of citizens and maintain these still critically needed protections for wolves.”

The 750,000 + comments, being delivered today to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by multiple conservation groups, will bring the total number to well over one million.

There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals had been 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.

“The North American gray wolf’s recovery in certain areas of the United States is something to celebrate, but an abundance of evidence shows the work is not yet complete,” said International Fund for Animal Welfare president and CEO Azzedine Downes. “I applaud actions to help protect this critical species, and I strongly urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to not go through with this proposal.”

The Obama administration’s proposal would remove existing protections for wolves everywhere except Arizona and New Mexico, where the Mexican wolf is struggling to survive with an estimated population of just 75 wolves.  This proposal would abandon protections for wolves in places where wolf recovery is just in its infancy, such as Oregon and Washington, and would prevent wolves from recovering in other places where good wolf habitat has been identified, including northern California, the southern Rocky Mountains, and the Northeast.

“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.”

“The restoration of the gray wolf could be one of the great American wildlife conservation success stories if Secretary Jewel would just finish the job.” Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition.

Nicole Paquette, vice president of Wildlife Protection for The Humane Society of the United States said: “Anti-wolf sentiments nearly led to the extermination of America’s wolves, and just when populations are starting to bounce back, the federal government is considering a plan that could place them in jeopardy. Rather than catering to interests from trophy hunters and fear mongering, we hope the federal government rejects this proposal and works towards the recovery of this species.”

“The incredible volume of comments give voice to a sad fact: the delisting proposal is a radical departure from the optimism and courage we need to promote endangered species recovery in this country. The comments show that Americans believe the Fish and Wildlife Service’s  proposal falls well short of the conservation ideals this country stood for 40 years ago when the Endangered Species Act was signed.” said Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark.

“The national wolf delisting scheme is simply too much, too soon,” said NRDC President Frances Beinecke. “It is a potential death sentence for new populations and prevents wolves from ever reaching areas where they could be a boon for habitat in need of their stabilizing influence. The return of wolves to the continental United States still stands as one of the greatest conservation stories ever written and we stand ready to fight to prevent it from being undone by this short-sighted policy move.”

“Americans are outraged and hundreds of thousands are saying it loudly and clearly; the job of wolf recovery is not done,” said John Horning Executive Director of WildEarth Guardians. “The Fish and Wildlife Service is not only wildlife wrong on the science of wolf recovery but also wildly out of step with the desires of most Americans who want to see federal protections for wolves maintained.”

“The number of public comments is a testament to the importance of wolves to our American story. Now is the time we should be pressing in to continue the job of wolf recovery, not abandoning wolves to the same kinds of destructive forces that endangered them in the first place,” said Dan Chu, director of Sierra Club’s Our Wild America Campaign.

“You don’t spend 40 years nursing a species back from the brink of extinction, only to suddenly declare ‘open season’ on them. There are only a few dozen viable packs in an area that used to be home to over a millions wolves. There’s plenty of room in America for wolves, people and an abundance of other species. But If Secretary Jewell allows this plan to go ahead, she’ll be responsible for the destruction of one of the most amazing, intelligent and iconic species in America.”  said Drew Hudson, Environmental Action

Camilla Fox, Executive Director, Project Coyote said:  “As wolves come under the gun in an upcoming wolf/coyote killing ‘derby’ in Idaho where prizes awarded for the largest killed, it is abundantly clear that the very practices that sent wolves to the brink of extinction still endanger their persistence.”

“Fish and Wildlife Service is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Instead of restoring wolves to their rightful places from coast to coast — as it did for bald eagles — the agency wants to abandon wolf recovery before the job is done,” said Trip Van Noppen, Earthjustice president. “Today hundreds of thousands of citizens told FWS to go back to work and protect our wolves.”



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17 comments on “Americans Speak Out Against Stripping Federal Protections From Wolves

  1. Seeing and hearing wolves in the wild connects us all to the beautiful planet we call home. Wolves epitomize what is wild about our country, and they have a right to exist, just as humans do. The immoral behavior that drove wolves to the brink of extinction should be over, but we see wolves in the Northern Rockies being killed by the hundreds every year. Once they were delisted the killing began, and has increased dramatically every year. On December 28 & 29 in Salmon Idaho, there is a wolf and coyote hunting derby where prizes are being given to those who kill the largest wolf, and the most female coyotes. Have we really any confidence that delisting wolves now, and turning over management to the states will benefit wolves or the environment? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to finish the job. Recover wolves into the majority of their former habitat, and craft state plans that protect them from indiscriminate hunting like that seen in Idaho. That is simply a disgrace!

    1. It is a disgrace what humans are capable of. These majestic animals were put here on earth for a good reason and that is to balance the ecosystem. Every single creature deserves to exist. Why do we continue to destroy what it is not ours? These wolves must continue to enjoy life. Something must be done.

  2. This species of Devine purpose is beyond necessity. They’ve done nothing wrong , man and having to have a hold on everything is causing destruction of this planet. Not making this known on national news to American public too is horrific . States have proven they can’t manage these animals need federal protection with complete humane respectful scientific intelligent boards. What happened in Yellowstone and is still happening is un American it’s disgusting and a disgrace!
    Please our children and children’s children need to see wolves running free!

  3. These magnificant animals have been brought back from the brink of extinction, let’s not move backwards, but rather forward to protect them. It’s sickening to see what is going on in my state (Idaho) We know what happens here if they are de-listed ! It’s already happening !

  4. Wolves and coyotes should be protected from all hunters. This terrible hunting that is being encouraged is heinous and should NEVER be allowed. These animals are a very necessary part of our existing ecosystems and need to be protected. DO NOT delist the wolves. PROTECT them. This lack of humanity is a an extremely poor reflection of America’s lack of values.

  5. Everything you said, Mark, is so true! Very well said! Unbelievable the way they are trying to destroy our wildlife—-All of it! Simply an OUTRAGE!

  6. I oppose the de-listing of all wolves. They r very important, essential, we need the wolves. Stop the slaughter. Wolves r sentient beings, they have a right to exist, thrive,to be free, safe from mankind,. We need them saved, they have not fully recovered, there are non-lethal measures that humans can take to protect property and animals, there is no need to murder them. Please for the sake of compassion do not destroy them. 90-95 percent of vacationers will travel to tourist areas to see and admire wildlife at its best, and these tourist areas will benefit from financial gains, why strip away the majestic beauty of nature and wildlife. SAVE THE WOLVES, THEY ARE SENTIENT BEINGS, THEY ARE ESSENTIAL., AND VERY IMPORTANT.

  7. ‘Agree with everything Mark said as well as Gloria. I have one major thing to add. To me, what is most despicable about this effective EXTERMINATION on the part of President Obama (who must finally take responsibility here – not Ms. Jewell nor Mr. Ashe, who work for him) and Big Energy, who I cannot help but feel pull his puppet strings in this truly UGLY saga that will ultimately bring shame to the President’s legacy as well as to America itself as a once-upon-a-time world leader, is that this incredibly social animal, Grandfather of man’s so-called best friend, is being killed here not because it is a threat to humans (2-3 documented cases of wolves killing humans in 550 years of the white man in North America maybe), not really for the sake of ranchers (ranchers lived with wolves for 40 years – there are now many ways of keeping them from cattle and sheep that are known, requiring only a little effort on their parts, plus there are government payments for depredations, although the government/Big Energy would like us all to believe this ranchers hate wolves story as a misdirection from the real reason , but first and foremost they are being kiilled because federally protected (e.g., ESA-protected) wolves would carry with them, to at least some extent, habitat constraints, necessarily accruing to their ESA-protected status, that just might work against the interests of the frackers, the sand tars oilers (the mining of which will soon become huge in the USA itself), lumbermen, mountaintop removal (MTR), particularly in the Appalachians for coal, and all sorts of drilling, digging, and cutting…reducing the amount of land they can practice their “excavation” practices on – which to Big Energy (and their biggest supporter, Barack Obama) is apparently completely and totally unacceptable. Sure, Obama wants Democratic Senators and congress-people from states like MT, WY, and ID (the real tough guy macho wolf-killer states) and so in that way the extermination IS political. But, much more importantly, it is for economic reasons (wolf blood money) and not for the American people, but for the greedy filthy rich who stand to profit the absolute most from the aforementioned proven cancer-causing practices of fracking, sand tars oil drilling, etc. These same folks are also killing wild horses by the thousands for the same reasons as wolves – which is, if they are allowed to live and then become protected, and then wander free over too much land, then it cuts down land that Big Energy/Obama can frack and practice their other dirty extraction methods upon. So this is the reason that wolves can’t roam free, or at least the biggest one. Mark my words, within no time at all, Obama WILL BE mining sand tars oil in the USA, probably even more so than Canada. In Alberta alone 6000 wolves, for the most spurious of reasons, have been or are in the process of being exterminated as official policy. The Canadians announced this as formal policy immediately after Obama formally signed off on delisting American wolves. He sets a fine example for Africans – who are mowing down their forests at rates never seen before so that they, too, can get in on the fracking action. Australians in helicopters kill wild horses to the tune of 8 or 9 thousands – in what? – a week, so that they too can clear the space of any possible protections for these creatures that might get in the way of THEIR fracking gold rush and other excavation Earth despoilers. Petitions from scientists against the EXTERMINATION as well as petitions from millions of others, even petitions from a group of hunters in Michigan that have been simply ignored testify to the more than strong possibility that this country, the so-called “America the Beautiful” is NOT a real democracy, that the people are NOT listened to, but patronized, as with the USFWS “hearings”, which I went to in DC, a veritable SHAM of going through the motions where I had to listen to USFWS insult my intelligence telling me it was never their goal for wolves to “recover”, but, rather, to keep them from becoming extinct. These are shear lies! Anyway, let us hope that this country IS a democracy (wolves have given us that chance), that President Obama truly is a just and RESPONSIBLE man, that his sense of responsibility IS driven by actual truth and, thereby, will take active responsibility for what he does here. Because we have now gotten to the point where the nation IS, in fact, watching now what is going on with this proposed EXTERMINATION of wolves, that has no doubt caught most of America by surprise, and Obama WILL be held responsible for what he does here. He has nowhere to hide. The American character, what has been seen by the world as the good part of its character, has been forged by the ongoing presence of wilderness and its association with the people that has always been here. No animal in this country is representative of this wilderness than the wolf. The current trend toward America becoming a cancer-causing cesspool (like Alberta) via the myriad of excavation practices that pollute our waters, kills people and animals alike, all for the sake of more money for the rich who don’t need it and at the added price of the blood of the most spiritually iconic animal that is one and the same with that component of character we call wilderness is a really bad deal. Don’t talk about the 1% of the highest paid needing to pay more of their fare share in taxes, President Obama, and then go and sign off on this dastardly proposal that will put the blood of wolves more on your hands than on anyone else in the world, and then expect people to believe in you. There is still time for you to use your bully pulpit to do the right thing. Don’t disappoint us any more than you already have. You have time to make amends. Use it wisely.

  8. ‘Agree with everything Mark said as well as Gloria. I have one major thing to add. To me, what is most despicable about this effective EXTERMINATION of wolves on the part of President Obama (who must finally take responsibility here – not Ms. Jewell nor Mr. Ashe, who work FOR him) along with Big Energy, to whom the President is deeply in debt for all they have done for contributing so handsomely to his becoming President in this truly UGLY saga that will ultimately bring shame to the President’s legacy as well as to America itself as a once-upon-a-time world leader, is that this incredibly social animal, Grandfather of man’s so-called best friend, is being killed here not because it is a threat to humans (2-3 documented cases of wolves killing humans in 550 years of the white man in North America maybe) or for killing cattle and sheep (ranchers are rewarded handsomely for depredations on the hamburger they graze for almost nothing on federally owned public lands, which will someday soon be off limits to them, too, because the fed will want its land back for more fracking or sand tars oil-mining – with the population exploding without bounds as it currently is, meat will be “extracted” from cloning), but first and foremost because ESA-protected) wolves would carry with them, to at least some extent, potential habitat constraints, accruing to their ESA-protected status that might, in blessing the land over which they wander (and they wander a whole lot), just might work against the interests of the Big Energy Folks via possibly reducing the amount of land they can practice their excavation practices on – namely, fracking, sand tars oil mining (soon to become huge in the USA itself in terms of actual digging), lumbering, mountaintop removal (MTR), particularly in the Appalachians (viable recovery habitat for wolves) for coal, and all sorts of other practices, most of which are proven to be poisonous to the environment, both to animals, vegetation, and people themselves most of all via cancers and other illnesses. Thus, the wolves are being killed for profit that comes from perpetuating practices harmful to both the people and the environment, profit which will fill the coffers mostly of the filthy rich who do not need it but are compelled to go for it because greed is a way of life for them, while destroying the landscape and the four-legged creatures that co-inhabit so-called “America the Beautiful,” much as the Canadians are destroying Alberta and trying to kill its 6000 wolves as we speak. This is really, therefore more about money than it is about “politics,” although the two are obviously virtually inseparable. No ESA protections, no fracking land going to the wolves. No wolves, no need for protections at all. Thus kill the wolves, despite all that has been proven they do to improve the health of environment wherever they roam. Big energy and their fracking poster boy, Barack Obama, however, are obviously far more concerned with the money they make from fracking, MTR, and sand tars oil mining, as well as all kinds of other mining and lumbering (call it “energy independence” if that feels more comfortable to your sensibilities – but independence for how long?) than they are about the health of the environment, its creatures, and its people; all this from the man who gives us Obamacare to bring affordable health to everyone. Confused? Wild horses, big animals that wander, if protected, would present the same problem as ESA-protected wolves; so they are slaughtered instead before anyone can protect them. Because of America’s leadership in the world (fast fading) this kind of activity is spreading planet wide – the killing of nature and exotic animals in Borneo and Sumatra for palm tree plantations for unnecessary food snacks, the cutting down of forests all over Africa and the death of wildlife that goes with that in preparation for THEIR shot at the sand tars oil mining and fracking mother lode, as well as whatever other minerals can be “extracted”; all these things are encouraged by President Obama and his great friends, Big Energy.

    I have been to a USFWS Hearing in our nation’s capital. I got two minutes to speak. Before I spoke, I was lectured by USFWS on the fact that I was mistaken that wolf recovery across their former range wherever PLAUSIBLE as much as possible was not what their job was. No, their job, I was told was keeping animals from being extinct. Normally I would call this a lie, but for the sake of the people allowing me to comment herein, I will just call it “jabberwocky.” The implications of this regarding wolf survival, even, are clear, so I won’t attempt to explain them. Ms. Jewell was known as a staunch environmentalist before she took the post of Secretary of the Interior, but apparently had to give that up to get the job, just like I can’t really say what I want the reader to hear because it will be considered what in corporate terms is called “inappropriate.” My understanding is that Mr. Ashe takes orders from Ms. Jewell. And Ms. Jewell was handpicked by President Obama. So I don’t have to explain anything about this either except to say that President Obama is the responsible party for this effective EXTERMINATION of wolves, however much he’s doing it to please his great friends (notice I don’t say “his bosses”) Big Energy. The buck is supposed to stop with him. So I will mercifully end this non-tirade by asking the President to remember that someday Americans will ask how wolves became extinct in America and why did President Obama allow them to become so, except maybe in zoos. They will also ask about the grizzly bear and why they, too, only exist in this not so far off time only in the aforementioned zoos. You may not think so now, Mr. President, but things like this will be much more important than fracking and sand tars mining, because with no nature, there is no point in incarnating on this planet. I mean, what for, so that we can all walk around comparing one parking lot to another, while we die earlier than ever because of all the damage fracking and sand tars oil and all the chemicals and waste products from mountaintop removal that leak into our rivers and streams do to our bodies and our souls? And I haven’t even mentioned all the open uranium mines on and in the vicinity of Indian reservations which spew out more cancer-given poison than Fukushima. And, yes, your legacy will also be questioned as to why it was you who allowed the destruction of the beautiful land and its creatures for fuel products that had a very limited availability. And it will be about you, President Obama, that these questions will be asked. – not about Big Energy – because it was you who had the bully pulpit you were elected to hold sacred and DEFEND AGAINST the Machiavellian fascism (government for and by business) of Big Energy. So I ask you now, President Obama, on this almost certain eve of the destruction of the most iconic symbol of wilderness in America, itself (wilderness) a symbol of America as well, at least up until now, to use that sacred bully pulpit while you still have it to do the right thing. It’s not too late to become the Lion Hero all Leos are asked by the Universe to at least try to become. And for every wolf you save in the wild in America, you save at least 2-3 lions in Africa. You don’t want little Jonny to be asking someday: “Why didn’t President Obama save the animals and the beautiful land I sometimes see pictures of when he had the chance? Why did he let the land get so destroyed that animals could no longer live there and, even people in a lot of places. Finally, why did President Obama put all the wolves in zoos or in jails? There’s still time, President Obama. Hear my words. Wolves are supposed to run free. They are the greatest symbol of freedom that we have here. Don’t make little Jonny ask you whether or not freedom is important.

  9. Restore the majestic wolf back into your glorious natural scenery and history. A step in the right direction to heal the damage done in the past. Well done from the UK!

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