Cross Posted from Center for Biological Diversity
PORTLAND, Ore.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today recommended removing federal protections from gray wolves that remain on the endangered species list after wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and upper Midwest had their protections stripped last year. The move could be devastating to wolf recovery. Fish and Wildlife conceded it will still consider protection for subspecies or breeding populations (including Mexican gray wolves, a recognized subspecies) and for populations in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast; its recommendation came in a five-year review of the Endangered Species Act listing for gray wolves in the lower 48.
“The agency’s saying protection for wolves should be taken away from them anywhere they don’t live right now, even if they lived in those places for thousands of years before we exterminated them and even if those places are still good habitat for them,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which has worked for decades to restore wolves. “If this approach had been taken with, say, bald eagles, we’d never have recovered eagles across much of the Midwest, Southeast or Northeast, where they didn’t exist when they were protected. This is a frightening example of the Fish and Wildlife Service abandoning the recovery mandate of the Endangered Species Act.”