Target: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe
Goal: Return the grey wolf to protected status under the Endangered Species Act.
Wolves are the only species in history to go from protected to hunted in a single day. The grey wolf was once the world’s most widely distributed mammal but were nearly extinct in the 1970s. In 2011, the government began removing their protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and transferred wolf management to the states, many of whom immediately opened hunting seasons on wolves. As of April 2015, more than 3,600 wolves have been slaughtered in only six states.
Fish and wildlife commissions are mainly dominated by ranching and hunting interests, turning the issue of wolf hunting political. The decision to hand management of the wolves over to the states came in the form of a last minute rider to a 2011 budget bill. This bill removed wolves from the ESA and prohibited further judicial review.
Wolves have become extinct across most of their former range and their current distribution is severely restricted. Wolves’ greatest enemies are humans who have shot, trapped, and poisoned them due to superstition and a misplaced fear for cattle and sheep. Wolves are still protected in national parks, but hunters and trappers lie in wait for them to cross park boundaries to slaughter them. Wolves are only hunted for fun, for their fur, or as trophies. People do not eat wolf meat and they are not game animals.
There are an estimated 12,000 wolves in the United States and they live mainly in Alaska, the Great Lakes Region, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northern Rockies. Grey wolves were common in the United States until they were slaughtered nearly to extinction in the 1930s. Their habitats include forests and mountainous terrain where there is ample access to prey, protection from persecution, and areas to den and take shelter. Wolves rarely attack humans and, as long as there is sufficient prey, seldom attack livestock. One of the greatest threat to wolves is human encroachment on their habitats, leading to habitat fragmentation and exposing wolves to potentially greater human interactions.
Wolves are essential to maintaining a balanced ecosystem. They keep deer and elk herds healthy and prevent them from overpopulating by hunting the sick and weak. When wolves disappear, the herds grow too large and affect the flora and fauna. The remains of their prey also help feed scavengers. By signing this petition, you will urge Director Dan Ashe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reinstate wolves as endangered species, thus providing them protection under the ESA.
Dear Director Ashe,
It is a travesty of justice that protection for grey wolves was transferred to individual states. Since that time, over 3,600 wolves have been slaughtered in just six states. Wolves are vital to ecosystems and removing them from their habitats will wreak havoc on the flora and fauna within those habitats.
Wolves were returning from the brink of extinction in the United States. In one day, they went from protected to hunted, and now are in danger of sliding back into the abyss of species extermination. They are important to the ecosystem and are not a significant threat to humans or livestock.
We, the undersigned, urge you to reconsider national delisting of grey wolves. They must be protected under the Endangered Species Act so that humans are not the cause of another species extinction. Please save the wolves and ensure their continued survival.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Emi