Feds to abandon wolf recovery nationwide – We’ve been very busy at Defenders since last Friday when the LA Times first reported that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is ready to give up on gray wolves across the country except in the Southwest. Our Executive Vice President Don Barry was interviewed by several reporters, including the Associated Press for a story that was picked up by more than 200 outlets from coast to coast (e.g., USA Today). He emphasized that the Service is throwing in the towel too soon, long before wolves are fully recovered.
“There’s a race to the bottom to see who can be more anti-wolf… They’re basically giving up on wolf recovery before the job is done.”
Don also talked to Aaron Kunz with Northwest Public Radio to discuss the potential impacts for wolves in the region, as well as the impacts beyond their current range in states where there are no wolves.
“Wolves are still not recovered in key parts of their range. Delisting at this point could preclude the return of wolves in Utah or California or Colorado.”
Places like the Olympic peninsula in Washington, much of western Colorado and northern California, and parts of Utah have large swaths of wilderness that could benefit from the return of wolves. But without federal guidance and resources, wolves may never make it there on their own. Our greatest concern is that by moving forward with this nationwide delisting proposal, the Service is leaving wolves entirely at the mercy of anti-wolf politicians in the states.
Giving up on wolf recovery with just a few thousand wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes sets a very low bar for endangered species conservation in America. It also undermines decades of hard work and billions of dollars of public investment in restoring these majestic creatures to the landscape.
If you haven’t already, please contact Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and tell her not to abandon wolf recovery!
Montana gets tougher, Wyoming eases up on wolf hunting next season – Wyoming Game and Fish deserves credit for trying to avoid driving wolf numbers too low. Their proposed hunting regulations would cut in half the number of wolves that can be killed in state’s trophy game management area. In the 2013-2014 season, the proposal would allow 26 wolves to be killed by hunters in this area, down from a quota of 52 this past year. However, part of the reason they’re giving wolves a break is that there are far fewer of them in the state to begin with, compared to Idaho and Montana. Also, the completely unrestricted killing of wolves in the predator zone that encompasses most of the state has contributed to the decline of Wyoming’s wolf population. We’d much rather see Wyoming start managing and maintaining wolves outside of the regulated hunting zone and protect wolves that move outside of Yellowstone National Park. But we also need to support the state’s willingness to carefully monitor the population and revise its hunting season accordingly. You can weigh in on the proposed regulations over the next month at a series of public hearings or by submitting comments online.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, on the other hand, continues the push to reduce its wolf population. Their proposed hunting and trapping regulations for the upcoming season would expand the hunting season to March 31st when females may be pregnant, and allow each hunter or trapper to kill up to five wolves, instead of just three. Though only two hunters and about a dozen trappers reported killing more than one wolf last year, we can expect those numbers to keep increasing as hunters and especially trappers gain more experience. The state also wants to make it easier for hunters by allowing them to shoot wolves standing near a baited site set for trapping. Montana’s wildlife commission will be meeting next week to discuss the proposed regulations. Click here for more details. Please ask Montana’s commissioners to stop ratcheting up their wolf-killing efforts unnecessarily and focus instead on maintaining nature’s healthy balance among all species.
Washington state wolf powwow this weekend –Live in the Seattle area? Not busy this weekend? Want to learn more about wolves and Native American culture? Perfect! Then come out to the 28th Annual Edmonds Community College Powwow, “Teachings of the Wolves,” starting this evening. Defenders is proud to help sponsor the event, which includes dance and drum ceremonies, singing, storytelling, arts and crafts. The focus of this year’s celebration will be on understanding the deep connection that Native Americans in the region have always shared with the spirit of the wolves. We look forward to working with native communities across the state to help restore wolves, which have been a vital part of their history and way of life for millennia. If you attend the event, please stop by the Defenders’ booth and meet our local representatives.