Environmental Groups Petition to Re-List Wolves as Endangered Throughout West

Environmental Groups Petition to Re-List Wolves as Endangered Throughout West title=
Environmental Groups Petition to Re-List Wolves as Endangered Throughout West
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Source: Los Padres Forestwatch

Citing “inadequate regulatory mechanisms” in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and a lack of minimum viable populations of wolves in all other western states, a coalition of 70 conservation, Indigenous, and animal welfare groups [on July 30] filed a formal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-list the gray wolf as an endangered species throughout the American West under the Endangered Species Act. The re-listing petition comes in the wake of draconian new laws passed in Idaho and Montana to radically reduce wolf populations below biologically appropriate levels.

“Wolves remain completely absent from suitable habitats or perilously close to extinction in many western states, and the handful of states surrounding Yellowstone National Park are now driving the larger populations toward extinction — endangered species listing — by ramping up wolf killing and stripping away hunting and trapping regulations in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming,” said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist and Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project.  “This petition gives Secretary Haaland and Interim Director Williams a legal and scientific blueprint for restoring federal protections and counteracting the irresponsible state policies in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.”

The listing petition highlights scientific findings of multiple threats facing wolves in the western United States, including unregulated hunting in several states, poaching, genetic problems associated with low population levels, fragmented habitats, and disease outbreaks that strike at random, potentially reducing populations below critical thresholds. It calls upon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect wolves in the West as a Distinct Population Segment. 

“The wolf known as OR-93's spectacular journey from Oregon to California's Central Coast—until wildlife officials were no longer able to track his location—demonstrated that not only is there potential for gray wolves to once again call California home but that the species is in urgent need of better protections across its range," said Los Padres ForestWatch conservation director Bryant Baker.

The groups’ petition comes in the wake of a groundswell of public recognition that wolves deserve to be listed under the Endangered Species Act, and that certain anti-conservation state governments are actively undermining wolf recovery in the lower 48 states. Over 120 Indigenous tribes and groups signed a wolf treaty calling for federal protection, and a documentary short film by the Global Indigenous Council was recently released, highlighting the cultural importance of wolves to Indigenous peoples. More than 400 scientists joined the call for federal wolf protections, recently bolstered by a letter from Members of Congress asking Secretary Haaland to step in and get the wolves back under the wing of Endangered Species Act protections. Today’s formal ESA petition requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to render a formal determination, called a “90-day finding,” determining whether substantial scientific and commercial information has been presented to support reinstating federal protections. This would be the first step on the road to restoring federal protections for this ecologically important, much-loved, oft-hated, and misunderstood species.

The groups submitting the petition include Western Watersheds Project, Bad River Tribe, WildEarth Guardians, Protect the Wolves, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Predator Defense, Footloose Montana, Colorado Wolf Alliance, Native Ecosystems Council, Western Wildlife Conservancy, Oceanic Preservation Society, Andean Tapir Fund, Kettle Range Conservation Group, Los Padres ForestWatch, Bozeman Broadband of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Wyoming Untrapped, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath Forest Alliance, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, Endangered Species Coalition, Yellowstone to Uintas Connection, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Western Wildlife Outreach, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, Californians for Western Wilderness, Apex Protection Project, Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, EcoFlight, Wild Equid League of Colorado, Farmer Frog, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Dailypitchfork.org, Fleet of Angels, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Animal Wellness Action, Center for a Humane Economy, Animal Wellness Foundation, The Rewilding Institute, Montana Wilderness Education School, Friends of the Bitterroot, Project Coyote, Trap Free Montana Public Lands, Wolves of the Rockies, Friends of the Wild Swan, Born Free USA, Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, Friends of the Clearwater, Plan B to Save Wolves, Rocky Mountain Wild, Gallatin Wildlife Association, Friends of the Earth, Alberta Wilderness Association, Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Research, American Wild Horse Campaign, Equine Welfare Alliance, Friends of Animals, Conservation Congress, The International Wildlife Coexistence Network, Biophilia Foundation, Nevada Wildlife Alliance, Wild Arizona, Wilderness Watch, New Mexico Sportsmen, Rio Grande Indivisible – New Mexico, Lynn Canal Conservation, Sheep Mountain Alliance, Whispering Winds Animal Sanctuary, and Wolves Offered Life and Friendship (WOLF).

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Babycakes Aug 13, 2021 10:53 AM
Environmental Groups Petition to Re-List Wolves as Endangered Throughout West

We saw several wolves in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone NP in October of 2019. We had pulled off the side of the road and got hassled by a park ranger to "move along." We slow walked it back to our SUV while the wolves devoured a freshly killed bison calf that was maybe three days old. Once the ranger was out of sight we continued viewing and photographing the wolves and it was incredible. We were hoping to see a big griz, but no such luck. FYI, if you see a bunch of people and cars along the side of the road in Yellowstone, chances are that they are viewing wildlife.

Rypert Johnson Aug 13, 2021 12:52 PM
Environmental Groups Petition to Re-List Wolves as Endangered Throughout West

BABYCAKES, if a park ranger asks you to move along, it is probably for the safety of the animals and environment they're assigned, by law, to protect. If you have a problem with the law, you should take that up with your local congressperson, but to villify the park ranger for adhering to what he/she has been assigned to do is just ridiculous.
By sticking around and having the wolves in noticeable distance, you gave away their safety position and put them at risk from other predators in the region, a highly irresponsible act.
You didn't just park on the side of the road, as you claim others weere doing, you walked out of your SUV to get a closer look and in the process, you contaminated a natural setting that these animals rely on to survive and thrive.
I guess some people believe the laws don't apply to them or they feel they are above said laws. Sorry, not sorry, but those laws apply to you and me and neither of us are above said laws.

Babycakes Aug 13, 2021 03:43 PM
Environmental Groups Petition to Re-List Wolves as Endangered Throughout West

Rypert Johnson: Nothing to do with enforcing the law as she was on some sort of power trip with her smug Ranger Joan hat. I did not give the ranger any "guff" but did acknowledge her presence and authority. Look, bottom line is that I got my pics. There's nearly no one on earth who'd pass by a group of gorgeous endangered wolves ravaging a baby bison tearing it apart from limb-to-limb without stopping to have a looksie and/or take a few professional-quality photographs. I usually get a bit woozy when I see blood, but this particular scene captivated me to my core, so I had to obviously stop. Please donate money people to any/all of the agencies and groups listed in the article. We need to save the wolves!!!

greytfull Aug 14, 2021 08:36 AM
Environmental Groups Petition to Re-List Wolves as Endangered Throughout West

"Wisconsin More Than Doubles Wolf-Hunting Quota, Angering Conservationists
The state’s Natural Resources Board will allow 300 wolves to be killed this fall, far more than the 130 recommended by state biologists. The state of Wisconsin on Wednesday authorized the killing of 300 wolves as part of a hunt this fall, far exceeding the recommendations of its own biologists for the once-protected species and drawing criticism from conservationists.
In a 5-to-2 vote, the state’s Natural Resources Board cast aside the quota that had been proposed by the state’s natural resources agency, which had called for a limit of 130 wolves to be killed. the gray wolf, which lost its Endangered Species Act protections under the Trump administration." NYT

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