By Joseph McDonald
Once again the federal government is trying to ease its responsibility to protect America’s wildlife, and once again wolf recovery is targeted. On March 14, the US Fish and Wildlife Service formally announced its plan to delist gray wolves across the country. Ten years ago the Obama Administration tried to remove Gray Wolves from of the Endangered Species Act, and ten years ago enough lawsuits and complaints from wolf advocates, including EPIC, stopped the administration from proceeding. It seems that history is doomed to repeat itself, now ten years later the antagonistic Trump Administration, which has shown that it is no friend to the environmental movement in this country, is trying to do the same thing that the Obama Administration failed to do.
The history of gray wolves in America has been exceedingly dark and destructive. Their habitat has been increasingly encroached upon and in the Northwest, wolf populations were completely eradicated or driven out. Wolves were in the midst of a crisis and it was only through advocacy from environmental organizations and grassroots movements that the wolves were protected under the Endangered Species Act, both the federal and California state versions of it. It has been many years but the hard work of caring people has shown progress for wolf populations. In 2011, Gray wolves were spotted in California for the first time in decades, marking that the population is in the very early stages of recovery.
The return of the wolves should be celebrated and fostered, but the federal government sees the budding wolf populations as an excuse to abandon the commitments that it made to protect them, which would leave wolf families vulnerable to trophy hunters, ranchers and state governments. Here at EPIC we are striving to protect and restore wolf populations and their native habitat in the northwest and throughout America. We will fight with everything we have to convince US Fish and Wildlife Service, either through lawsuits or petitions, that wolves deserve a place in this country just as much as we do.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service will accept public comments until early May.
Stay tuned for future EPIC action alerts.