Another Fight to Protect Gray Wolves

Groups Urge Protection for Wolves in Montana, Idaho, Other States

By David Robinson, August 31, 2021

I hadn’t planned on writing about wolves again so soon; there are many other endangered species issues to address.

What a difference a month makes.

My previous blog highlighted that a bipartisan group of 85 Congressional Representatives had signed a letter urging Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to “reconsider the decision to delist the Gray Wolf under the Endangered Species Act.” Also, that more than 400 scientists endorsed the call “for federal protections for wolves, citing new state laws that allow for inhumane hunting practices and threaten the species’ recovery.”

But in late August, the Biden Administration made a disappointing announcement. It plans to uphold the previous administration’s decision to remove the gray wolf from the list of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Soon after that unpopular decision, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted regulations to expand wolf killing quotas and permit questionable hunting and trapping methods for the 2021-2022 season. The newly approved rules allow strangulation snares, baiting, and night hunting and enable hunters and trappers to kill up to ten wolves per person with a single license. Earlier, Idaho’s Legislature voted to allow hunters and trappers to kill an unlimited number of wolves (year-round).

Of course, conservation groups unite in their opposition to these recent actions. “Legislation allowing lethal neck snares, baiting, and wolf bounties is excessive and is out of touch with the way Montanans and Idahoans want to see wolves managed,” said Derek Goldman, Northern Rockies Representative for the Endangered Species Coalition. “With these new, extreme wolf-killing measures, the states are reneging on the management plans they agreed to, and the Service has a duty now to step back in and hold the states accountable.”

Goldman’s comments were included in a letter from the Endangered Species Coalition and Idaho Conservation League to Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It asked for a “formal examination” of new threats to wolves in Montana and Idaho.

We’re facing ongoing challenges to protect gray wolves. President Biden, Secretary Haaland, and the USFWS still have an opportunity to reverse their current positions. Conservation organizations and other groups will maintain the pressure, shining the light on the current dilemma. You and I can do our part. Support a group that is fighting to protect gray wolves. Call and e-mail your Congressional Representatives. Ask your friends, neighbors, and others to do the same.

Yes, we can make a difference.

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U.S. Representatives and NGOs Unite to Protect Gray Wolves

By David Robinson, August 2, 2021

There is a simple reason why a bipartisan group of 85 Congressional Representatives signed a letter urging Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to “reconsider the decision to delist the Gray Wolf under the Endangered Species Act.”

And why 59+ NGOs (environmental/other organizations) have strongly requested this critical action.

That is because gray wolves need protection. Endangered Species Coalition Executive Director Leda Huta recently emphasized how important and timely this ask is. “Gray wolves in our country are facing threats the likes of which we have not seen in decades,” she said. “The Biden Administration can no longer delay. It must act promptly and decisively to protect America’s gray wolves.”

In their letter to Secretary Haaland, the U.S. reps agreed that “We believe the science supports listing the gray wolf as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. We believe the Trump Administration willfully ignored the science of ESA listing decisions in favor of partisan political calculations when it moved to strip federal protections in the fall of 2020.”

More than 400 scientists are endorsing the call “for federal protections for wolves, citing new state laws that allow for inhumane hunting practices and threaten the species’ recovery.” The letter reminded the Secretary that several states, such as Montana, Idaho, and Wisconsin, have enacted anti-wolf policies. Those include year-round hunting of adults and pups, the use of choke-hold snares, and trapping further into the breeding season.

In addition, the Representatives expressed concern that a rapid decline in the gray wolf population would have a “negative effect on their habitat and could be detrimental to local ecosystems.”

The wolf call for action is an ideal example of how working together can help protect threatened and endangered species and their precious habitats. You may have assisted by contacting your representatives to encourage their support.

Of course, there will be pushback, as certain states and groups argue that the delisting was appropriate and that wolves don’t need protection.

But 85 Congressional Representatives and nearly 60 organizations have spoken.

Now we must wait for Secretary Haaland to make her decision based on science, what is genuinely best for gray wolves, and the “healthy functioning of (our) ecosystems.”