Gray Wolves Not Ready to Come Off Endangered Species Act List

"The job of wolf recovery in the U.S. is not yet complete."

06-07-2013 // Christine Dorsey McGowan
Gray Wolf

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to remove all gray wolves outside of New Mexico and Arizona from the list of threatened and endangered species. The National Wildlife Federation opposes the proposed rule.

John Kostyack, vice president for wildlife conservation, had this to say:

“NWF has long supported Endangered Species Act de-listings when supported by the science, and we believe that the recovery of two gray wolf populations in the Western Great Lakes and Northern Rockies are historic ESA success stories,” said John Kostyack, Vice President Wildlife Conservation. “However, the job of wolf recovery in the U.S. is not yet complete.”

De-listing a wildlife species protected by the Endangered Species Act is appropriate only when it has fully recovered, and recovery is attained only when there is a sufficient number and distribution of populations to achieve long-term viability. FWS has not demonstrated that the two gray wolf populations restored in the U.S. to date are all that is needed to achieve recovery under the ESA.

NWF encourages FWS to abandon its delisting proposal and instead consider what additional populations may be needed to achieve full gray wolf recovery.

“As the recent successes in the Northern Rockies and Western Great Lakes have shown, wolf restoration provides enormous benefits to communities both in terms of tourism and economic development as well as ecosystem health,” said Kostyack.

Research has shown that wolves help cull weak members of ungulate herds, provide food for other animals that feed on wolf-killed carcasses, allow increased growth of woody riparian plants and songbird nesting sites, and make possible the establishment of beaver dams and cool, deep ponds for juvenile fish.

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