14 August 2012 Groups Ask Obama to Protect Wolves in Northwest Posted by: John Motsinger | Leave a comment | Share: The lone male wolf known as OR7 may be in trouble if federal protections are removed for wolves in the Pacific Northwest. There are about 50 wolves in the Pacific Northwest that range between Washington, Oregon and northern California, but only a tiny handful of them are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. That’s why Defenders and 23 other conservation groups sent a letter to President Obama today, asking his administration to maintain those protections until the population has fully recovered. When Congress delisted wolves in the Northern Rockies last year, wolves in eastern Washington and eastern Oregon lost their protection as well. But wolves in the western portion of those states are located outside of the Northern Rockies “distinct population segment” and thus still remain listed under the ESA. However, another anticipated delisting from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could strip federal protections for gray wolves across the entire lower 48, including the Pacific Northwest. There are currently two packs in Washington—the Lookout and Teanaway packs—that reside in the western portion of the state. A lone male wolf has also spent the last eight months traveling between southwest Oregon and northern California. These are the only known wolves in the Pacific Northwest that are currently protected under the federal ESA. “Wolves have made an incredible comeback in the Rockies, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on wolf recovery in the West,” said Pamela Flick, California program coordinator with Defenders of Wildlife. “Californians deserve the chance to see wolves returned to their former habitat in our state too, and maintaining federal protections across the Pacific Northwest is the best way to make sure that happens.” Defenders and our colleagues are urging the Fish and Wildlife Service to create a new distinct population segment for the Pacific Northwest to maintain federal protections until wolves have fully recovered. While Oregon and Washington already have plans in place to restore wolves, protection under the federal ESA will commit additional resources to wolf recovery in the region. It also provides an extra safety net in case either state starts managing wolves too aggressively. Both Oregon and Washington have done a reasonably good job so far, but wildlife managers are under increasing pressure from anti-wolf extremists to limit wolf numbers. In California, however, wolves could be without any safety net whatsoever if federal protections are eliminated. Defenders is working closely with California Department of Fish and Game to come up with a solid state management plan, but it’s still a ways off. The state is currently considering adding wolves to the state endangered species list, but there’s no guarantee of such protections. We must act now to prevent this unwarranted delisting, before it’s too late. Wolves in the Pacific Northwest need full protection of the federal ESA to give them the best chance to recover. Click here to read the coalition’s full press release. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit? Ecological Insults and Injuries Revealed Four Years after Deepwater Horizon Four years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we’re beginning to see the full scope of how this ecological disaster is impacting our wildlife on land, air and sea. Wolf Weekly Wrap- Up California wavering on protection for gray wolves under state law; Defenders of Wildlife featured on the HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell show tonight; A close up look at the science: wolf breeding pairs in Idaho; bad bills for Mexican gray wolves in Arizona.