14 February 2014 Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Posted by: Melanie Gade | 28 comments | Share: Independent Peer Scientists Say The Service’s Gray Wolf Delisting Proposal is Not Based on Good Science: Wolf advocates’ concerns were validated last week when five independent peer review scientists unanimously concluded that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to delist wolves across much of the lower 48 was not based on the best available science. It’s something we’ve been telling the Service ever since their proposal came out last year and now independent expert scientists have said the same thing! The wolf peer review scientists agreed unanimously that the information used by Service in their delisting proposal, which relied heavily on one report, prepared by Service biologists and published in an obscure journal, contained significant interpretation errors, key omissions, and a selective use of evidence. Moreover, the peer reviewers felt that conclusions from this report were shaky—“not universally accepted” in their words—and that the Service’s decisions on species classification and the historic range of wolves were simply wrong. If this peer review process tells us anything, it tells us – yet again – that the Service is not treating wolves in the same way it treated the recovery of the bald eagle, peregrine falcon or the American alligator. Each of these species reached recovery throughout their range before being taken off the endangered species list. We’d all love to see wolves eventually come off of the endangered species list, but not until they are recovered. It should now be clear to all that the Service’s current proposal is not supported by the best available science and would jeopardize gray wolf recovery in the U.S. We are asking the Service to withdraw their delisting proposal and you can help us by sending your comments to Secretary Jewell. More Bad News from Idaho. Just when you thought it was safe for wolves in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho announces a new plan to kill up to 60 percent of wolves in this Wilderness. It was just a few weeks ago that a hunter-trapper hired by the state in an effort to exterminate two wolf packs in the Middle Fork area was forced to pack out, the result of legal pressure from Defenders and our conservation partners. This week, Idaho Department of Fish and Game released a new wolf control plan for the area designed to boost elk populations for commercial outfitters and hunters, and authorizing the killing of up to 60 percent of the wolves in the area. In response to the proposal, Idaho resident and Defenders of Wildlife representative Suzanne Stone said: “It’s clear that Idaho Department of Fish and Game isn’t interested in sustainable wolf recovery. Instead, they’re focused on doing anything they can to kill as many wolves as possible in the state. That’s not responsible state wildlife management any way you look at it. Idaho committed to responsibly managing wolves when federal protections were removed just a few short years ago. Actions like this just further demonstrate that they’re failing to uphold their end of the agreement.” We’ll be working to block this harmful policy. Please stay tuned for more information and actions you can take to help us end this senseless killing of wolves. Calling on Idaho Residents: Your Chance To Testify Against Governor Otter’s Proposed $2 Million Wolf Killing Fund Has Come! You’ve likely heard of Gov. Butch Otter’s egregious state Wolf Control Board proposal, to be funded by $2 million in taxpayer dollars to implement lethal wolf control programs throughout Idaho. This proposal is dangerously close to becoming law in Idaho. Last week, a bill to authorize this board gained traction in Idaho’s state legislature, and on Monday, February 17, 2014 the Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee is taking public comments on the proposed legislation. If it passes through Committee, it will move for a vote on the House floor, and then it will be voted on in the Senate. Wolves need as many voices as possible to speak out against this proposal now before this bill moves closer to becoming law.You can participate in a hearing on Monday and give your testimony to the Committee voting on the legislation. This bill’s sponsors intend to drive Idaho’s wolf population down as low as 150 out of an estimated population of between 500 – 600 wolves. We cannot let this happen. Please attend this important hearing with us and speak out against the growing anti-wolf sentiment polluting Idaho’s politics and wildlife management – details below. Not an Idaho resident?Click here to support our work. When: Monday February 17th at 1:30pm What: Resource and Conservation Committee Public Hearing for HB 470 Where: Idaho State Capitol, Room EW40 Melanie Gade, Communications Specialist Melanie handles press coverage for wildlife in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains as well as Defenders' national work on the Endangered Species Act.