For Immediate Release
Collette Adkins Giese, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821
Fish and Wildlife Service Asked to Refuse State Requests to Remove Protections for Gray Wolves in the Great Lakes
Minneapolis - The Center for Biological Diversity and Humane Society of the United States submitted comments
today telling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that wolves in the
Great Lakes region still need Endangered Species Act protection. The
comments respond to petitions from state wildlife managers and
sport-hunting groups asking the agency to remove protections from
wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Since 2003, conservation
organizations have won repeated court victories upholding federal
protection for Great Lakes and northern Rocky Mountains wolves.
“The job of recovering the gray wolf is far from
finished,” said attorney and biologist Collette Adkins Giese of the
Center. “Although tremendous strides have been made toward recovering
wolves in the Great Lakes, more action is needed to ensure their future
in the region is secure and to restore them to a larger portion of
their former range and abundance.”
Wolves occupy 5 percent of their original range in the
lower 48 states and number a small fraction of the approximately 2
million wolves believed to have once roamed the continent.
“It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have wolves in
our woods, where they help keep the balance,” said Adkins Giese. “But
these highly social animals are still gone from most of their historic
range, including excellent habitats where they’re needed to restore
damaged ecosystems. Wolves shouldn’t be stripped of protection before
achieving national recovery.”
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The conservationists’ comments raise significant concerns
about state laws and regulations in the three states that were
specifically crafted to increase wolf mortality after removal of
federal protections. The comments also point to the continuing loss of
wolf pups to canine parvovirus and concerns that hybridization between
gray wolves, eastern wolves and coyotes may disrupt unique wolf
attributes thousands of years in the making.
“Wolf conservation in our region is more complex than
previously understood,” said Adkins Giese. “Until we deal with the
threats these animals face, including disease, hybridization and
killing by people, it’s premature to lift federal protections.”
The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition
to the Fish and Wildlife Service this summer requesting development of
a nationwide wolf recovery plan to restore wolves to all significant
portions of their range, including places within the Pacific Northwest
and California; the deserts and canyons of the Colorado Plateau and
Colorado’s Rocky Mountains; the Great Plains; and New England.
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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.