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Biologists Say Proposal to Remove Protections Fails to Follow Best Science

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Biologists Say Proposal to Remove Protections Fails to Follow Best Science

[Ed. Note: GOOD NEWS: Feds Yank Wolf Delisting Decision!]

From Center for Biological Diversity
May 2013

“No animal is more important to the North American landscape than gray wolves,” said Bergstrom. “The science shows that wolves are not yet recovered in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rockies and the Northeast.”

Scientists Call on Obama Administration to Keep Gray Wolves Protected Under Endangered Species Act  

Scientists, including carnivore experts, urged the Obama administration this week not to strip wolves of their protection under the Endangered Species Act. In two sharply worded letters, the scientists said a draft proposal to halt protections was premature and failed to follow the best science. One letter came from 16 prominent conservation and carnivore biologists, the other from the American Society of Mammalogists.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been poised to propose its delisting rule, which would end federal protections for all wolves in the lower 48 states (except in Arizona and New Mexico). The proposal -- on the table even though wolves today occupy just 5 percent of their historic habitat in the continental United States -- has apparently been temporarily delayed, though it's unclear why or for how long.

The Center's gearing up to fight this dangerous proposal once it's finally announced. We'll let you know how you can help. 

PRESS RELEASE:

WASHINGTON— In two sharply worded letters sent to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today, prominent scientists argued for continued protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states and criticized a draft federal proposal to remove those protections for being premature and failing to follow the best available science. One of the letters came from the American Society of Mammalogists, the other from 16 prominent biologists.

“The science simply doesn’t support removal of protections for wolves,” said Dr. Brad Bergstrom with the American Society of Mammalogists. “Wolves are altogether absent or barely beginning to recover in large swathes of the country that still contain excellent habitat.”

Signatories to the letter include several scientists who conducted research that’s relied on by the government in its draft proposed rule. Those scientists are now criticizing the agency for misrepresenting their work, stating: “Collectively, we represent many of the scientists responsible for the research referenced in the draft rule,” and “We do not believe that the rule reflects the conclusions of our work or the best available science concerning the recovery of wolves.”

“No animal is more important to the North American landscape than gray wolves,” said Bergstrom. “The science shows that wolves are not yet recovered in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rockies and the Northeast.”

As noted in the scientists’ letter, research conducted following the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park found that wolves “caused changes in elk numbers and behavior which then facilitated recovery of streamside vegetation, benefitting beavers, fish and songbirds.”

“In these two letters, scientists are simply asking the administration to acknowledge what the research clearly shows — that gray wolves are far from recovered,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s still time to reverse course and do what’s best for these beautiful animals and the landscape we all share.”