Posts tagged: endangered species act
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this morning announced its proposal to lift most of the remaining federal protections for gray wolves across the Lower 48 states (with the exception of the Mexican wolf areas), a move that would end four decades of recovery efforts.
But in a draft proposal, federal scientists said the wolves in Washington and Oregon “constitute the expanding front of large, robust, and recovered wolf populations to the north and east.
Federal officials said in the draft, “We are confident that wolves will continue to recolonize the Pacific Northwest regardless of federal protection.”
The public has 90 days to comment period on the proposal. A final decision is expected next year.
With more than 6,100 wolves roaming the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe told The Associated Press that a species persecuted to near-extermination last century has successfully rebounded.
Prominent scientists and dozens of lawmakers in Congress want more. They say wolves need to be shielded so they can expand beyond the portions of 10 states they now occupy.
However, you won't find many lawmakers in districts occupied by wolves calling for more wolf protections, and 72 members of Congress representing both parties signed a letter to President Obama in March requesting the gray wolf be delisted from Engangered Species protections.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., issued this statement today, calling the delisting proposal “long overdue.”
Read this morning's AP report, which includes the range of opinions.
ENDANGERED SPECIES - The Los Angeles Times reports today that the feds are getting ready to announce their proposal to remove gray wolves from Endangered species protections.
Mike Jimenez, who manages wolves in the northern Rockies for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said delisting in that region underscored a “huge success story.”
The sweeping rule by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would eliminate protection for wolves 18 years after the government reestablished the predators in the West, where they had been hunted to extinction. Their reintroduction was a success, with the population growing to the thousands.
Pro wolf groups already are arguing that the move would cut short wolf recovery before the species has advanced anywhere near its former range, including Colorado and Utah.
But it's clear that state and federal wildlife manager are saying wolves have reestablished better than scientists had predicted and the headaches and social impact make delisting a prudent step in the wolf's best interest.
The presence of wolves has always drawn protests across the Intermountain West from state officials, hunters and ranchers who lost livestock to the wolves. They have lobbied to remove the gray wolf from the endangered list.
Jimenez said that while wolves are now legally hunted in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, the federal agency continues to monitor pack populations and can reinstate protections should numbers reach levels that biologists consider to be dangerously low.
Federal authorities intend to remove endangered species protections for all gray wolves in the Lower 48 states, carving out an a exception for a small pocket of about 75 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, according to a draft document obtained by The Times.
Once those protections end, the fate of wolves is left to individual states. The species is only beginning to recover in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. California is considering imposing its own protections after the discovery of a lone male that wandered into the state's northern counties from Oregon two years ago.
The species has flourished elsewhere, however, and the government ended endangered status for the gray wolf in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes regions last year.