From the very start, the Obama administration's proposal to remove federal protections for wolves across most of the lower 48 has been based on politics, not science. The nation's top scientists have said so and the American people have said so -- and now we have to say so again.
In just six states where wolves have been federally delisted, two years of aggressive state hunting and trapping seasons have killed more than 2,600 wolves, or half the total population in the lower 48 known to exist in 2013. Can you imagine what would happen if the wolves' safety net were removed in all states?
Let's demand that wolves get the protections a recovering species needs. Scientists have identified hundreds of thousands of square miles of suitable wolf habitat that still exists in places where wolves once lived and could live again with the help of federal protections -- including the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rockies and the Northeast.
Take action now to sound the drum. Tell the Fish and Wildlife Service to rescind its plan to strip protections from wolves, and instead help wolves recover across more of their former home.
I am writing to request that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rescind its proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in the lower 48.
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The best available science demonstrates that wolves are not yet recovered and that lifting protections would end the very measures most needed to ensure wolf recovery. Wolves today occupy roughly 5 percent of their former habitat and exist at only 1 percent of their former numbers. And scientists have identified hundreds of thousands of square miles of suitable wolf habitat that still exists in places where wolves once lived and could return to, with the help of federal protections and recovery programs, including the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rockies and the Northeast.
In response to its delisting proposal, Fish and Wildlife has received letters from some of the top carnivore scientists in the country and from science organizations representing members in over 60 countries. These scientists have roundly criticized the proposal for not being based on the best available science and for distorting their research. Additionally, a scientific peer review panel specifically contracted by Fish and Wildlife to review the proposal has issued a report unanimously concluding that the proposal is not based on the best available science.
Wolves remain an endangered species, and a declaration from Fish and Wildlife that wolves are no longer endangered does not make it so. The proposal appears to respond to the concerns of a very small but powerful contingent -- that of livestock operators unwilling or unable to imagine coexisting with wolves. But the majority of Americans want wolves to remain protected until they are fully recovered, as required by the Endangered Species Act, and they want to see wolves restored to significant portions of the species' historic range.
Please rescind your plan to strip protections from wolves, and instead begin to develop recovery plans for wolves across more of their former territory.