For Immediate Release: March 6, 2019
Madison, WI – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting under, but not confirmed, Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, has announced its intention to remove Endangered Species Act protections for all gray wolves in the United States that are currently protected. Trump has once again nominated a corrupt puppet for polluters, climate change deniers and trophy hunters to lead a critical federal agency and make decisions about critically endangered animals.
Friends of the the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife has urged the Trump Administration not to abandon the gray wolf, a still-recovering species in the Great Lakes, especially to hostile state wolf management plans.
There were once up to 2 million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals had been driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s with cruel persecution. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country.
Gray wolves returned on their own to Wisconsin where they have made a successful comeback, despite ongoing threats to their long term recovery. The wolf population has stabilized and depredation is at an all time low, which cannot continue without federal protection.
Melissa Smith, executive director of Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife said,
“the Wisconsin DNR’s own social survey showed that the majority of Wisconsinites living in wolf range want wolves protected. During the wolf hunting, hounding, and trapping seasons that took place between 2012-2014 we saw the highest number of livestock losses, even though the wolf population was being killed with little to no regulation. The day wolves are delisted in Wisconsin, hound hunters can fight their dogs against wolves 365 days a year / 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, even during the season where wolves are rearing their pups. There are absolutely no regulations put into place for this practice. This is not how a state agency should manage any species, especially an animal whose future is still threatened.”
A similar proposal in 2013 outraged Americans: one million citizens submitted comments and 200 business leaders signed a letter in opposition to the plan to strip endangered species protections from gray wolves.
The wolf delisting notice was published in the Federal Register and will include a period for public comment, after which the rule can be finalized by the Trump Administration.
Melissa Smith, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife