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Environmental groups urge U.S. to keep wolf protections

The leaders of six of the nation’s most prominent conservation groups this week called on the U.S. Department of the Interior to cancel plans by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across nearly the entire lower-48 states.

The groups, in a letter to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, said the plan would be disastrous for gray wolf recovery in the United States.

The chief executives of the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club signed the statement.

They urged Jewell to reverse course on the planned delisting because dropping federal protections at this point would be premature and notes that there are still few, if any, wolves in the vast majority of their former range, where scientists have determined much suitable habitat remains.

“Maintaining federal protections for wolves is essential for continued species recovery," the letter says, adding that the unwarranted assault on wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains after wolves in those states lost federal protections highlights the "increasingly hostile anti-wolf policies of states now charged with ensuring the survival of gray wolf populations.”

Wisconsin and Minnesota have allowed wolf hunting and Michigan’s governor recently signed legislation to block a campaign by animal rights groups to hold a referendum on that state’s wolf hunting law.

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