Center for Biological Diversity

Don't Let Congress Kill Wolves

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Republican and Democratic members of Congress in the House and Senate have introduced four bills to eviscerate gray wolves' Endangered Species Act protections before they have fully recovered.

Gray wolves have not faced such a sweeping, ruthless threat since the inception of a federal program to exterminate them in 1915, which eliminated all wolves from the western United States by the 1940s. 
The various bills would remove Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in Montana and Idaho, portions of surrounding states, or the entire country, and would legislatively overturn
the Center's latest successful lawsuit that restored Endangered Species Act protections to wolves throughout Montana, Idaho, and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Each bill would permit a renewed extermination program against wolves, unfettered by federal law.

Stripping the Endangered Species Act of authority to protect wolves would be catastrophic, not just for the 1,600 wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains or the 4,200 wolves in the Great Lakes states -- both far more vulnerable populations than their numbers suggest -- but even more so for the 42 remaining Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona, and the four breeding pairs living in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington.

An act of Congress to strip wolves of Endangered Species Act protection would set a terrible precedent. The Act wisely requires decisions concerning the fate of endangered species like the wolf to be based solely on the best available science. What would be the next species for Congress to deem too unimportant to survive?

Please tell your members of Congress today: Protect our wolves, and hands off the Endangered Species Act.

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Please submit comments by December 31, 2010.

Gray wolf photo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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Wolves play a critical role in ecosystems. In Yellowstone National Park, wariness of wolves keeps elk from grazing on cottonwood saplings in low-visibility valleys. The cottonwoods that have matured in the 15 years that wolves have been back are reversing decades of ecological decline by providing habitat for birds, shade for fish, erosion control, and dam material and food for beavers whose ponds improve wildlife habitat even more. In Grand Teton National Park, a decline in pronghorn numbers was arrested and reversed by the reintroduction of wolves, which killed coyotes that hunt newborn pronghorns. In similar fashion, wolves benefit foxes. Overall, considering the carrion that wolves provide to scores of other animals and the wolf's role in ensuring survival of the fittest in its prey, this remarkable species is recognized as an engine of evolution.

Wolf recovery is not yet complete, and the Center for Biological Diversity has petitioned for development of a national wolf recovery plan so wolves can inhabit much more of their range and be secure from the threat of extinction.

View the bills here: H.R. 6028, S. 3825, S. 3919, S. 3864.