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nrdc update: good news!

nrdc update: good news!

Good news on the endangered species front …

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will withdraw its decision to remove endangered species protections from the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies, according to press reports. Federal protections of wolves will continue for wolves in Yellowstone, Central Idaho and Glacier ecosystems. This development comes on the heels of a federal judge’s decision on a suit brought by NRDC and 11 other conservation groups that blocked the delisting decision. Recently the Department of Interior has been roundly criticized over proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act.

“More than 100 wolves were needlessly killed as a result of the government’s ill-fated delisting effort—and hundreds more would have been shot this fall if federal protections had not been restored,” said Louisa Willcox of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “One of the Endangered Species Act’s greatest success stories would quickly be undone if the killing had continued, And that death toll confirms the need for wolves to retain federal protection until their populations increase and state agencies can demonstrate that they are capable of managing wolf populations responsibly.”

Read the rest of the article: Wolves Win on the National Resources Council website.

putting the wolf in danger

putting the wolf in danger

Gray wolfThe gray wolf has just been de-listed from the Endangered Species list in three states: Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. All three states are already making plans to authorize wolf kills.

It’s a bad idea, turning back the clock on the successful recovery of wolf populations and the restoration of better-balanced ecosystems. Wolves are, at worst, a minor nuisance, destroying a few livestock each year. They are, at best, a critical contributor to the health and diversity of the ecosystems of which they are a part, and, for us, a reminder of a wild and free — and even dangerous — world that is not completely under our thumb.

And that is a good thing! We need to remember that we share this earth with other living things, that we serve God well by serving all creation well, not by tampering with it and taming it and culling it for our own convenience! The wolf is a beautiful and valuable part of God’s creation and deserves better treatment from us.

What follows is an excerpt of a NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) discussion of the de-listing of the gray wolf. You can read the whole report here.

The Bush Administration’s proposal gives the states a free pass to kill hundreds of gray wolves, just when wolves are making good progress toward recovery. And another loophole would make it possible for states to kill wolves even while they are on the endangered species list: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has also proposed to revise section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act, known as the “killing rule,” which would allow the states to eliminate wolves if they are “a major cause” of numerical or distributional changes in elk herds. The fact that drought, shrinking habitat, other predators, and human hunting have been found to be the primary causes of elk herd changes becomes irrelevant under this new rule. In effect, wolves can be exterminated for doing what they are supposed to do—maintain a healthy ecosystem by preying on elk.

The federal government has failed to apply sound science to protect wolf populations. For the past five years, the federal government has been aggressively killing wolves, without solving the underlying conflicts with livestock that are prompting the slaughter of numerous wolf packs. After delisting, even more wolves will be killed. Although independent biologists agree that 2,000 to 3,000 wolves are needed in the Northern Rockies for a healthy, viable wolf population, the Bush Administration’s plan could reduce the number of wolves to as low as just 100 in each state.

For another take on the political motivation for the de-listing “as the settling of an old score,” see Jim Doherty’s article in the Washington Post, Wolves Are Back. Humans Are Howling. in the Washington Post.