Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | March 19, 2009

Wolves Being Threatened Again

Taos looking "wolfish"

Taos looking "wolfish"

Recently one of my shelter mates wrote a Second Chance Pet Column discussing how the domestic dog is the descendent of the wolf.  Today I am writing about the serious threat that my ancestors are facing.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (of Colorado) is upholding a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and the Great Lakes from the Endangered Species list. 

Fortunately, environmental groups have pledged a lawsuit to protect the estimated 1,500 wolves in the Northern Rockies.  The pending lawsuit claims that delisting wolves is contingent upon two things that have not yet been achieved: 1) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting plan must be based on current, credible science that ensures a healthy wolf population level that is sustainable and well connected. 2) All of the states in the delisting area must have wolf management regulations that provide for a sustainable and well connected wolf population after federal protections are lifted.

According to the groups preparing the legal action, Salazar’s decision fails to adequately address biological concerns about the lack of genetic exchange among wolf populations in the Northern Rockies. These concerns led a Federal court to overturn the same delisting rule late last year when the Bush Administration issued it. Salazar’s decision also fails to address concerns with Idaho’s state wolf management plan and regulations that undermine the goal of a sustainable wolf population by killing massive numbers of wolves.

“What we had hoped was the new administration would have taken a deep breath and evaluate the science,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, vice president of Defenders of Wildlife and a former Fish and Wildlife Service director under President Bill Clinton. The groups feel that Salazar’s decision violates the Endangered Species Act and allows more than 1,000 out of the roughly 1,500 wolves in the region to be killed. 

The Natural Resources Defense Council has requested a Freedom of Information Act to determine whether Secretary Salazar undertook any new scientific review before reissuing the same legally and scientifically flawed decision that the Bush Administration previously announced.

Last summer, 12 conservation groups compelled the Bush Administration to abandon its first attempt to strip wolves of their protection when they made the case that wolf populations had not yet fully recovered. Today, less than 6 months later, wolf populations still haven’t reached biological recovery levels. In fact, over this past year, the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park declined 27 percent — and wolf pups in the park are dying of a yet-to-be-determined disease.

Environmental groups feel it is incumbent on Secretary Salazar to withdraw this potentially devastating plan and submit it to the kind of rigorous scientific review that the Obama Administration has championed on so many other environmental issues. “We are disappointed the new administration has missed this opportunity to change course, and rethink the failed wolf persecution policies of the last eight years,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president & chief counsel for animal protection litigation with The Humane Society of the United States.

The last time wolves lost their protection, 110 of them were gunned down in 120 days — nearly one per day.  The decision couldn’t come at a worse time. It is breeding season and wolves at risk of being gunned down will start giving birth in April.  Wolves have already been exterminated in 96 percent of their former range. They are making one of their last stands right now in the Northern Rockies.

My name is Taos, a handsome dog here at the Second Chance Shelter waiting for my “pack” to adopt me, and I urge you to help my ancestors by calling the US Fish and Wildlife Service at 1-800-344-9453 to voice your concerns. My wolf relatives can’t speak out, but you can!

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online:  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.




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