About these ads

Biodiversity: Scientists slam feds on possible wolf de-listing

asdf

Wolves are recovered in Yellowstone, but a possible plan to take them off the Endangered Species List is highly controversial. Photo courtesy Yellowstone NP.

Leaked plan doesn’t live up to intent of Endangered Species Act

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A group of prominent scientists with expertise in wolf biology is taking issue with a draft plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. The document was leaked a few weeks ago, eliciting widespread criticism from wildlife advocates.

Federal wildlife agencies are under intense pressure from states to turn over wolf management. Congress has already set the stage for political interference in the wolf recovery process, and that step has put the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service at the edge of a very slippery slope. Any proposal to de-list wolves is likely to face significant opposition and legal challenges from conservation advocates. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Wildlife advocates howling mad about draft federal plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List

Wolves may not be in danger of extinction, but are they recovered?

wolfmap

The current legal status of wolves in the U.S.

lkj

A gray wolf follows a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy NPS/Doug Smith.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —An oft-discussed proposal to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species List has progressed to the point that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a fairly detailed draft version of the plan. The draft rule proposes removing all protections for wolves in 29 eastern states but maintaining endangered status for the Mexican wolf by listing it as a subspecies.

“We propose these actions because the best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the currently listed entity is not a valid species under the Act and that the Mexican wolf (C. l. baileyi) is an endangered subspecies,” the agency wrote in the draft. Continue reading

About these ads

Biodiversity: Congress steps into wolf conservation fray

Letter asks U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep protection in place

sdfa

A congressional faction is pushing back against wolf de-listing. Photo courtesy USFWS.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Two leading congressional Democrats are leading an effort to maintain protection for wolves across the United States.

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), along with 52 House members this week sent a letter to the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging an about-face on the agency’s anticipated proposal to remove federal protections for wolves across most of the lower 48 United States.

Wolf populations have recovered in places like the northern Rockies, but those areas only cover about 5 percent of the species’ original range. Before they were exterminated by humans, an estimated 2 million wolves roamed across most of the U.S. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Can the courts help save Mexican gray wolves?

Lawsuit seeks to have Mexican gray wolves protected as a separate subspecies

Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

A Mexican gray wolf in the wilds of the Blue Range wolf recovery area. Photo courtesy of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Wildlife conservation advocates are hoping to get some help from federal courts in their quest to prevent Mexican gray wolves from falling over the precipice of extinction.

The Center for Biological Diversity this week sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today over the agency’s rejection of a 2009 scientific petition from the center that sought classification of the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered subspecies or population of gray wolves.

Mexican wolves are currently protected as endangered along with all other wolves in the lower 48 states, with the exception of those in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes region. The lawsuit claims that protection as a subspecies will help ensure Mexican gray wolf recovery. Continue reading

Oregon ranchers declare war on wolves

The alpha male in Oregon's Imnaha wolf pack. PHOTO COURTESY OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE.

Cattle industry asks lawmakers to OK wolf killing 

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The cattle industry’s pathological war against wolves continues in Oregon these days, where — according to the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association — wolves are “terrorizing” the eastern part of the state, “ravaging, ripping flesh and gutting the gentle cattle.”

To keep this in perspective, consider some of the stats: In 2011, wolves killed 25 cows, while 55,000 were lost to weather, disease and thieves in 2010. In the rare instances in which livestock are lost to wolves, ranchers are reimbursed at fair market value by Oregon taxpayers.

So along with ramping up the woe-is-me rhetoric, the cattle industry is pressuring Oregon lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow the state to kill the surviving members of the Imnaha pack of endangered gray wolves. This pack was the first to return to Oregon in more than 60 years. One of its members recently trekked to California, gaining fame as Wolf OR7. Continue reading

Conservation groups challenge Congress on wolf de-listing

Western Gray wolf. PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

Groups ask for expedited hearing to prevent planned fall hunts in northern Rockies

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Wildlife conservation groups say they aren’t ready to give up their battle over wolf management just yet.

This week, The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project and Cascadia Wildlands filed an appeal  in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the constitutionality of a congressional budget rider that stripped Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains, including Montana, Idaho, eastern Oregon and Washington, and northern Utah.

“Wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains should be managed by science, not political meddling by Congress,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This appeal is aimed at restoring needed protections for wolves in these states. Although numbers have risen, the job of wolf recovery is far from complete.”

The Congressional rider marks the first time that Congress acted to remove a plant or animal from the endangered species list. Federal officials say populations of wolves in the northern Rockies have met or exceeded recovery goals, and, based on the mandate from Congress, struck a deal to turn wolf management over to the states. Continue reading

Opinion: Western governors wrong on endangered species

A western gray wolf. PHOTO BY GARY KRAMER, USFWS.

Changes in conservation policy and law must be based on science, not politics

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Reading some of the news reports from the recent Western Governors’ Association discussions on the Endangered Species Act left me rubbing my eyes, shaking my head in disbelief and wondering what century I’m in and what planet I’m living on. In case you missed it, here’s the gist, according to an Associated Press story, anyway.

It seems that the governors want to change the Endangered Species Act because they think it is a nonsensical law that hurts business, property owners and farmers and impinges on state sovereignty — in short, one of the greatest threats to motherhood and apple pie since Al Qaeda.

Some of the language used by the governors, at least as interpreted in the AP story, is the moral equivalent of the language used by Confederate secessionists in the Civil War era, and to hear welfare ranchers and golf course developers whine about how prairie dogs are “ravaging” their lands would be laughable if it weren’t so alarming. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,852 other followers