For Immediate Release
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
WASHINGTON - AP reports: "Wolves in parts of the northern Rockies and the Great Lakes region come off the endangered species list on Monday, opening them to public hunts in some states for the first time in decades."
RODGER SCHLICKEISEN, SUZANNE ASHA STONE
President of Defenders of Wildlife, Schlickeisen said: "This delisting is a potentially disastrous turn for a venture that began in 1995 in such a hopeful and rewarding manner: the restoration of wolves to their natural landscape in the West. We are outraged and dismayed that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar put his stamp of approval on this premature and inadequate Bush administration plan.
"We all expected more from the Obama administration, which repeatedly promised it would consult with conservationists, scientists, and other stakeholders on key issues before making decisions. Secretary Salazar rejected our offer to work with him to find the right way to delist wolves in the region and, instead, made his surprise announcement that he was removing federal protections for vulnerable wolves with no transparency at all. Defenders of Wildlife immediately filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act so we could learn who the Secretary talked to about the issue and what scientific review he undertook -- and we are still waiting for an answer. Meanwhile we are moving to sue Secretary Salazar as soon as possible to overturn this misguided and unwarranted decision.
"The delisting plan allows these two states [Idaho and Montana] to reduce wolf populations to levels that would threaten genetic diversity between populations and undermine the goal of ensuring a healthy, sustainable wolf population in the region. Secretary Salazar's terrible decision leaves us no choice. We will stand up for wolves and endangered species conservation by moving to challenge this delisting in court as soon as the law allows."
Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife, Suzanne Stone, added: "All the reasons why this plan was a bad idea when the Bush administration proposed it still stand today. Idaho, which hosts the majority of the region's wolf population, has already publically announced its desire to aggressively reduce its state wolf population once federal protections are lifted. Today, there are at least 25 packs on the short-list that may be targeted for removal. ... Delisting the wolf at this point in time completely undermines the serious work, consideration and cooperation among all stakeholders that is necessary before being able to objectively declare the gray wolf recovered."
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