Target: Wyoming Senator John Barrasso
Goal: Withdraw support from a bill which would allow unrestricted hunting and trapping of gray wolves in four U.S. states, including Wyoming.
Endangered wolves could soon be slaughtered on sight in four U.S. states if a new senate bill passes and is signed into law. Gray wolves are currently federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, yet this bill, referred to as a some as a “War on Wolves,” would essentially de-list the wolves in Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — leaving the management of wolf populations to those states to decide. Wolves in Wyoming are especially at threat thanks to a federal court ruling which allows hunters to target them as “predatory animals” across most of the state. Wyoming officials and the United States Senate must be made aware of that fact that wolves are a vital part of the ecosystem, and that removing these protections could spell doom for this keystone species.
Should the bill pass, hunters would be able to shoot unlimited numbers of wolves on federal lands, in addition to the over 85 percent of the state which now sanctions their unregulated killing. There would be virtually no safe space left for wolves in Wyoming, increasing conservationists’ fears that the genetically isolated population in Yellowstone may not have the ability to survive long-term.
This bill is not just a potential death sentence for wolves as it would have negative impacts for all wildlife. As apex predators, wolves help manage deer and elk populations, which in turn helps to support healthier forests overall. However, wolves have long been regarded as vermin within Wyoming and other states. Ranchers frequently point the finger at wolves when livestock have gone missing or are found dead. In reality, wolves contribute to a statistically insignificant amount of cattle and sheep deaths compared to those caused by illness or foul weather annually.
The bill’s co-sponsors claim that a few notable signs of wolf recovery is an indicator that the species is no longer endangered, yet the evidence shows that wolf populations still have a long way to go before they can be considered healthy. Currently, there are only 5,000 gray wolves living within a small fraction of their original habitat in the lower 48 states. We can and must do more to help bolster their population.
We must not remove protections for this symbol of the American West and wilderness as a whole. Sign this petition to tell Wyoming Senator John Barrasso that wolves are not vermin, and must remain federally protected.
Dear Senator Barrasso,
The recovery of wolves in Wyoming has been lauded as an example of the success the Endangered Species Act has had since its enactment in 1973. However, we must not prematurely assume that because some wolf populations have rebounded that wolves as a whole are no longer in need of our protection.
The federal court ruling which grants hunters permission to target predatory animals within a broadly defined predator zone (over 85 percent of the state) sets a dangerous precedent. Wolves are apex predators within their native habitat, but as they are at the top of the food chain, they also are vital in ensuring that elk and deer populations remain healthy across the state. To remove federal protections from the remaining areas where wolves are currently protected would be harmful to all wildlife, not simply wolves.
Wolves are a necessary part of Wyoming’s ecosystem and are a part of the cultural heritage of the American West. I urge you to withdraw your support from Senate Bill 164 so we can ensure that these animals can survive and continue to keep wilderness lands healthy and viable.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Titleist46