To the Editor:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing nationwide removal of federal protection for most gray wolves and handing management responsibility to the states.
A 90-day period for public comment on the proposal began June 13 and will end Sept. 11.
The delisting proposal has produced howls of protest among wolf advocates who view it as a political move to undermine the Endangered Species Act.
The USFWS, however, claims the gray wolf is fully recovered and “the best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the currently listed entity is not a valid species under the Act.”
In a letter to USFWS Director Dan Ashe, 16 scientists representing varying fields of study, including one wolf biologist, expressed their opposition to the delisting announcement.
In their opinion, the lifting of federal protection for the gray wolf is premature on the basis that the gray wolf has barely begun to recover or is absent from significant portions of its former range where substantial habitat remains; and that the proposal fails to consider the importance of these areas to the long-term survival and recovery of wolves, or the importance of wolves to the ecosystems of these regions.
Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the proposed delisting was a “national disgrace.” This is like kicking a patient out of the hospital when they’re still attached to life support, he said.
To comment go to the USFWS’s proposal website: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073-0001
Comments are already pouring in opposing this flawed proposal. I submitted mine yesterday.