Dear President Obama,
As a supporter of Claws n Paws and someone who cares about protecting America's wildlife, I urge you to restore Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rockies and to work with conservationists and other stakeholders to develop a better federal plan.
As you know, on March 6th, 2009, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved the Bush administration's discredited plan to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the Greater Yellowstone states of Idaho and Montana, a decision that could lead to the deaths of more than 1,000 wolves.
Hundreds of wolves have already been killed in Idaho and Montana, more than 230 during wolf hunts that began in September and continue in Idaho even now because of your administration's action.
Idaho has already extended its hunting season until March 30th, putting even more wolf families in the crosshairs, even pregnant wolf mothers due to give birth this spring.
Eliminating Endangered Species Act protections for these wolves should be contingent upon two things that have not yet been achieved:
1) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs a federal delisting plan based on current science that guarantees a minimum wolf population level that is both sustainable and genetically connected. The current delisting plan permits there to be as few as 300 to 450 wolves in the region, far too few to sustain a healthy wolf population.
2) All of the states in the delisting area must have wolf management regulations that provide for a sustainable and well-connected wolf population.
Interior Secretary Salazar's decision failed to address key biological concerns that led a federal court to overturn the same wolf delisting rule when the Bush administration first issued it. The Secretary's decision also failed to address important concerns with Idaho's state wolf management plan and state regulations that undermine the goal of a sustainable wolf population by killing massive numbers of wolves.
Under current state wolf management plans, more than two-thirds of the region's wolves could be killed, threatening the overall future of wolves in the region. In fact, current state wolf management plans seem more directed at wolf eradication than sustainable management of a wildlife population that the federal government has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to rescue from extinction.
For all these reasons, I sincerely hope you will reconsider your administration's position on wolf management in the northern Rockies.
Thank you for considering my comments. I look forward to your reply.