Most Americans don’t support delisting – A new national poll shows that only 1 in 3 Americans supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to strip federal Endangered Species Act protections for most gray wolves nationwide. Public Policy Polling surveyed 1,378 registered voters and found that 70 percent believe that wolves are a vital part of America’s wilderness and natural heritage. Half of the respondents think the wolf population in the lower 48 has still not recovered, and more than half think wolves should be given a chance to return to places like Colorado and California where there are no wolves today.
These results help us make our case that the current delisting proposal is premature. The federal government should not be giving up on wolf recovery before the job is finished, especially when there is still so much good wolf habitat left unoccupied. Please submit your comments today opposing the Fish and Wildlife Service’s premature proposal.
Wolf wars continue in Wyoming – Despite strong national support for continued wolf recovery, public opinion is still extremely divided in the heart of wolf country. A recent feature story from the Spokesman Review shows the challenges that wolf advocates are up against in Wyoming, where some ranchers and hunters blame wolves for cutting into their business. Unfortunately, there’s no discussion of nonlethal tools available to ranchers to reduce conflict and no mention that overall elk numbers are at record highs across much of the Northern Rockies. Yes, wolves do have some localized impacts on livestock and game herds. But on a broader scale, wolves are helping to restore degraded ecosystems and providing new economic opportunities through wildlife tourism.
Wyoming halves wolf hunt quota – Though some wolf opponents are eager to get rid of wolves, the state has reduced the number that can be killed during next year’s hunt. Last week Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved new hunting regulations that set the limit at 26 wolves, half the number from last year. Sadly, more wolves can still be killed anytime by any means in the so-called “predator zone” that encompasses more than 80 percent of the state.
Why kill native wildlife? – For years we’ve been railing against the arcane, disastrous practices of Wildlife Services, a branch of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture responsible for killing millions of native animals. Finally, others are starting to take notice as well.
Last year, Sacramento Bee investigative reporter Tom Knudson ran an in-depth series on the secretive agency. This summer, our colleagues at NRDC released a short film about their practices. Last week a scientific paper was published in Conservation Letters examining damage done to our ecosystems. And this week, the New York Times editorial board called for careful scrutiny:
“It is time the public got a clear picture of what Wildlife Services is up to, and time for the Department of Agriculture to bring the agency’s work into accord with sound biological practices. Resolving wildlife conflicts need not involve indiscriminate killing.”
We couldn’t agree more. Click here to support our campaign to reform Wildlife Services.
Washington wolves under attack (again)? – Capital Press reports that wolves in northeast Washington are being blamed for the death of a three-day-old calf. Len McIrvin, the owner of the Diamond M Ranch whose livestock losses led to the removal of six wolves from the Wedge Pack last year, says wolves dragged off one of his calves recently. But Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has determined that the evidence found was ultimately inconclusive. In addition to finding coyote tracks in the vicinity of the incident, there was no indication that wolves had breached the barbed wire fence surrounding the calving enclosure. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation, but it’s good to see the state wildlife agency conducting such thorough investigations. We continue to offer our assistance to ranchers in the area to help protect their livestock from wolves and other predators using nonlethal deterrents and better animal husbandry practices.
Cancer survivor howls for wolves — Gudrun Pflueger was a professional cross-country skier in Austria who turned her love of the outdoors into a career tracking wolves in the Canadian wilderness. After winning a three-year battle with brain cancer she returned to Canada in search of wolves. Click here to watch her howl for wolves with her dog, while cross-country skiing with her young son strapped to her back. Now that’s some serious dedication!