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To: Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe
Respect Science and Maintain Endangered Species Act Protections for Gray Wolves
Removing Endangered Species Act protections now would threaten the ongoing recovery of Gray Wolves and potentially weaken the Endangered Species Act.
In light of the rejection of the science behind this proposed rule and the need to protect still-recovering wolves around the United States, I urge that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service immediately withdraw this plan.
Why is this important?
Wolves are still recovering in states around the country and trying desperately to expand into others. In states where Endangered Species Act protections have already been lifted, aggressive hunting and trapping policies have been enacted resulting in large decreases in population in some states.Gray wolves have only just begun to return to portions of the Pacific Northwest, California, southern Rocky Mountains and Northeast. Wolves are part of our national heritage and have only begun to recover in my home state of Oregon. A lone wolf from the Imnaha pack named OR-7 became the first wolf in Western Oregon since 1947 and later crossed into California. That trip into the Golden State made him the first wolf there in nearly a century. His story and others like it make clear that wolves are struggling to recover and to expand but they need our help in the form of federal protections.
The proposal put forth by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service would leave still-recovering wolves like OR-7 at risk and without vital protections.
Studies completed after the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park have found that wolves are highly beneficial to ecosystems, benefiting a host of species from fish to songbirds to pronghorn antelope. Wolves have also been a boon to the local economy as a major tourist draw.
Additionally, the scientific rationale behind this proposal has now been called into question by an independent peer review panel tasked with assessing it. The panel found that the rule does not currently represent the best available science. Specifically, it cited the lack of evidence or support in the scientific community for the assertion that wolves in the eastern United States are a unique species.
Because the process is now fatally flawed by the use of inaccurate science and because it is apparent that wolves have yet to recover in most of the United States, I believe the proposal should be withdrawn.