The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

National Poll: Only 1 in 3 Americans Support Stripping Wolf Protections

70 Percent of Voters Value Wolves as Vital to America’s Wilderness, Natural Heritage


A new national poll finds that 70 percent of voters believe wolves are a vital part of America's wilderness and natural heritage and only 1 in 3 support the Obama administration's proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in the lower 48 states. The poll also finds that 56 percent say wolves should be given a chance to return to unoccupied wolf habitat in places like Colorado, California and the Northeast.

"The Obama administration's plan to strip endangered species protections for wolves clearly doesn't have the support of most Americans," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which commissioned the poll. "The fact is that wolves are wildly popular, and most Americans want to see more wolves in more places."

The poll follows the Obama administration's proposal in June to eliminate federal protections for nearly all wolves in the lower 48 states, where fewer than 6,500 wolves now inhabit only 5 percent of their historic range. The poll found that a solid majority of people who voted for Obama (58 percent) oppose the plan to eliminate wolf protections and say wolf populations should not be considered recovered.

"Americans get that wolves play a vital role in the natural world and that, like bald eagles and other endangered species, they shouldn't be considered recovered as long as they're absent from large parts of the country with excellent habitat," said Greenwald. "It's time for the Obama administration to get in line with everyday Americans who value wolves. Rather than trying to push more wolves toward deadly traps and state-sanctioned hunting seasons, we ought to be pursuing a national wolf plan that truly recovers these great animals from coast to coast."

The national poll of 1,378 voters was conducted by Public Policy Polling on July 11, 12, 13 and 14. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent.

Among the poll's results:

  • 70 percent said wolves are a vital part of America's wilderness and natural heritage.
  • 68 percent said wolves should be given a chance to play their role in nature, including benefits they provide to songbirds and foxes; only 24 percent said they should not be allowed to play their natural role, and 8 percent weren't sure.
  • 56 percent said wolves should be given a chance to return to hundreds of thousands of square miles of unoccupied wolf habitat identified by scientists in places like Colorado, California and the Northeast; only 32 percent disagreed, and 12 percent weren't sure.
  • 47 percent said they opposed the Obama plan to strip wolf protections, 31 percent supported it, and 22 percent weren't sure.
  • 50 percent said that wolves have not recovered in the United States, 33 percent said wolves have recovered, and 16 percent said they weren't sure.
  • 55 percent said they'd like to see a wolf in the wild, 34 percent said they would not, and 11 percent weren't sure.
  • 49 percent said they opposed aggressive hunting and trapping seasons adopted in states where wolves have already lost protections; only 31 percent supported hunting and trapping wolves, and 21 percent weren't sure.

Obama voters

  • Of the more than 600 poll participants who voted for President Obama in the 2012 election, 58 percent said they opposed the administration's plan to remove wolf protections, 24 supported the proposal and 18 percent weren't sure.
  • 58 percent of Obama voters also said that the wolf population in the United States should not be considered recovered, while 24 percent said wolves have recovered and 18 percent weren't sure.

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.

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