Since the late 1990s, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been looking for ways to end its involvement in gray wolf recovery in the lower 48 states. The response from the scientific community and the public at that time was to argue that neither the science nor public will support discontinuation of federal protections for western wolves in areas outside the Northern Rockies.
More than a decade later the USFWS is again going through a process that could ultimately remove Endangered Species Act protections for western wolves recolonizing areas outside the boundaries of the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery area. While wolf recovery progress has certainly been made in the Northern Rockies and outside that core western recovery area, western wolves are still absent, diminished from historic levels, or vulnerable in the majority of their historic western ranges.
If the USFWS proceeds with its plan to strip protections for wolves, OR-7 (or Journey), the iconic wolf who traveled from eastern Oregon to northern California to become the state’s first wolf in over 80 years, would now have a target on its back. Thanks for signing our petition and standing up for wolves!
Mr. Dan Ashe
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Director Ashe,
We the undersigned firmly believe that the scientific and public good arguments against ending federal involvement in wolf recovery in the lower 48 states—particularly in the Pacific Northwest and Southern Rockies—that were valid in the late 1990s are still valid today.
Further, we see:
Fundamental and largely unresolved barriers between realizing tenuous wolf recovery objectives in a region or two and the ultimate goal of enabling species recovery across the spectrum of remaining re-colonization opportunities;
Western wolf recovery as largely an issue of federal lands policy and priorities involving a widely roaming species whose expedited recovery cannot or should not be delegated to the states or localities;
The wolf as a keystone species contributing an ecosystem function that cascades down through a multitude of public landscapes in several states negatively impacted by unchecked populations of native and domestic ungulates; and
An inherent federal responsibility for wolf recovery for the simple reason that the Biological Survey—a precursor to the US Fish and Wildlife Service—was in large part responsible for the broad scale elimination of wolves in the lower 48 states.
For all of the above reasons and more we join with Cascadia Wildlands and others in calling for the USFWS—your agency—to materially commit to getting the wolf recovery job done in the American West. This path is supported by a substantial body of scientific literature, legions of wildlife scientists working the field and a sector of the US public committed to the conservation ethics and the ecological interconnectedness espoused by the Leopold and Murie families.