THE NEUTRAL ZONE
The Gray Wolf will no longer enjoy protection under the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states, the Trump administration announced Thursday. The animal is beloved by environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts and scorned by rangers and hunters. The move reverts management of wolf populations to local wildlife agencies, which could allow them to be hunted or shot to protect property or animal stock.
There are about 6,000 gray wolves in the lower 48 United States, up from about 1,000 when they were added to the endangered species list in the 1970s after being hunted, trapped and poisoned to near extinction. “Impacted communities will be able to determine how best to preserve gray wolf populations while protecting other native species and livestock,” Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee said in a statement.
Environmentalists vowed to take the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service back to court, where they have previously blocked attempts to remove wolves from the list. “Wolves just occupy a fraction of their former range,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and chief executive of Defenders of Wildlife. “There’s so much work that needs to be done.”
Colorado voters will decide to reintroduce the wolf in a ballot initiative on Tuesday. Wolves are scarce in Colorado, but wildlife officials now believe a small pack and a couple rogue individuals live in the state.
Trump administration lifts federal protections for gray wolf – Reuters – 10/29/2020
Delisting the gray wolf is a win for sportsmen and ranchers who argue that larger numbers of wolves have diminished herds of big-game animals like elk and prey on livestock. “Impacted communities will be able to determine how best to preserve gray wolf populations while protecting other native species and livestock,” Utah Senator Mike Lee said in a statement.
Will Colorado bring back wolves? It’s up to voters – Salon – 10/18/2020
Restoring wolves is a contentious topic that taps into diverse values and passions. Indeed, much of the conflict surrounding wolves isn’t human versus animal, but human versus human.
U.S. to Remove Wolves From Protected Species List – New York Times – 10/29/2020
Environmentalists condemned the decision as dangerously premature and vowed to take the Fish and Wildlife Service back to court, where they have successfully blocked previous attempts to strip wolves of federal protections. “Wolves just occupy a fraction of their former range,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and chief executive of Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group. “There’s so much work that needs to be done.”
What Stripping Endangered Species Protections Means For Colorado’s Wolf Reintroduction Initiative – Colorado Public Radio – 10/29/2020
The short answer is not much. Proposition 114 calls on the state to undertake its own reintroduction program without federal help. If voters sign-off on the measure, stripping endangered species protections could make the process more straightforward since Colorado wildlife managers wouldn’t need permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin a reintroduction program.
Gray wolf completes comeback with removal from endangered-species list – The Washington Times – 10/30/2020
Federal wildlife officials announced Thursday the lifting of species protections for the gray wolf in the lower 48, heralding the decision as U.S. conservation triumph, but whether the Trump administration can keep the apex predator off the list is another question.
Gray wolf delisting glosses over need to protect other species, too – Star Tribune – 10/30/2020
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has said he opposes sport hunting of wolves, and elsewhere in this Star Tribune edition, reporter Jennifer Bjorhus quotes Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann saying, “The governor stands by the Minnesota DNR’s written comments to the federal agency that delisting is the wrong decision for both ecological and cultural reasons in the Lower 48.” Figures. Figures also that Walz didn’t say anything about bobolinks, meadowlarks, evening grosbeaks, tri-colored bats, Richardson’s ground squirrels or our continual assault on their habitats.