Restore Endangered Species Act Protections for Gray Wolves

Gray wolf pup

In one of its final acts, the Trump Administration announced its decision to remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list, ending longstanding federal safeguards for wolves across the lower 48 states, save for a small Mexican gray wolf population in Arizona and New Mexico.

Just weeks after the federal rule took effect, states began enacting new policies - putting wolves in the crosshairs and reminding us how vulnerable wolves have become.

In place of Endangered Species Act protections, the federal delisting rule shifts all conservation and management of wolves to states and tribal nations. Beyond transferring authority, delisting paves the way for lethal wolf control and state-sanctioned wolf hunting to become predominant management strategies. Just a month after the delisting rule officially took effect, Wisconsin offered an alarming demonstration of the consequences that come with this power shift - a hunting season on wolves that left 216 wolves dead within 60 hours.

Trophy hunters and trappers wiped out between 20% - 33% of Wisconsin's wolf population within three days, and nearly 85% of those killed were hunted down by packs of dogs—a ruthless and controversial practice that only Wisconsin allows.

Beyond the wanton cruelty and devastation this hunt brought to wolves, Wisconsin demonstrated its inability to commit to sound science and to carry out its essential responsibilities like enforcing quotas and assuring tribes maintain their longstanding rights to natural resources. Wisconsin's actions and policies also threaten wolves beyond its borders by influencing expectations about wildlife management in states like Minnesota and Michigan, which are now turning Wisconsin to rationalize their own inaugural hunting seasons.

States where wolves had previously lost federal protections, like Montana and Idaho, have been taking cues from the delisting and Wisconsin. Emboldened politicians have been pushing a slew of controversial measures that include:

  • year-round trapping seasons, 
  • bounties paid for killed wolves, 
  • use of snowmobiles and ATVs to chase down wolves,  
  • the killing of newborn pups and nursing mothers (on private land), 
  • and permitting barbaric hunting devices like wire snares that will inflict some of the worst cruelty imaginable.

Ultimately, Idaho and Montana seek to allow the killing of as many wolves as possible.

In a world where we increasingly understand the importance of predators and our ability to coexist, we cannot allow the delisting rule to further galvanize a movement bent on delegitimizing science and killing wolves.

Wolf recovery requires us to develop a healthy relationship with wolves and each other. We have to recognize the ecological importance of wolves, advance non-lethal measures to help foster coexistence with them, and refrain from unjustified persecution.

Despite the Biden Administration's August 20th announcement that they are backing President Trump’s delisting decision, we can't give up.

Wolves need continued federal protection if they're to survive and fully recover. Please call on President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to restore federal ESA protections for wolves.

Recipients

  • President Joseph 'Joe' R. Biden
  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative
  • Secretary Deb Haaland

Contact

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Message

Please immediately restore ESA protections for gray wolves

Dear [Decision Maker],

As a lifelong supporter of Endangered Species Act (ESA) and someone who cares deeply for our nation's wolves and wildlife, I am writing to urge the Department of the Interior to restore federal protections for gray wolves.

At the close of 2020, the Trump Administration announced its decision to remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list, ending longstanding federal safeguards for wolves across the lower 48 states, save for a small Mexican gray wolf population in Arizona and New Mexico.

Just weeks after the federal rule took effect, states began enacting new policies - putting wolves in the crosshairs and reminding us how vulnerable wolves have become.

In place of Endangered Species Act protections, the federal delisting rule shifts all conservation and management of wolves to states and tribal nations. Beyond transferring authority, delisting paves the way for lethal wolf control and state-sanctioned wolf hunting to become predominant management strategies. Just a month after the delisting rule officially took effect, Wisconsin offered an alarming demonstration of the consequences that come with this power shift - a hunting season on wolves that left 216 wolves dead within 60 hours.

Trophy hunters and trappers wiped out between 20% - 33% of Wisconsin's wolf population within three days, and nearly 85% of those killed were hunted down by packs of dogs--a ruthless and controversial practice that only Wisconsin allows.

Beyond the wanton cruelty and devastation this hunt brought to wolves, Wisconsin demonstrated its inability to commit to sound science and to carry out its essential responsibilities like enforcing quotas and assuring tribes maintain their longstanding rights to natural resources. Wisconsin's actions and policies also threaten wolves beyond its borders by influencing expectations about wildlife management in states like Minnesota and Michigan, which are now turning Wisconsin to rationalize their own inaugural hunting seasons.

States where wolves had previously lost federal protections, like Montana and Idaho, have been taking cues from the delisting and Wisconsin and pushing a slew of controversial anti-wolf measures.

These states are unwilling to support gray wolf recovery at viable or ecologically effective levels. They have made clear their intentions to drive down their respective wolf populations to the bare minimum, ignoring science, ethics, and even tribal rights.

In a world where we increasingly understand the importance of predators and our ability to coexist, we cannot allow the delisting rule to further galvanize a movement bent on delegitimizing science and killing wolves.

Wolf recovery requires us to develop a healthy relationship with wolves and each other. We have to recognize the ecological importance of wolves, advance non-lethal measures to help foster coexistence with them, and refrain from unjustified persecution.

Wolves need continued federal protection if they're to survive and fully recover. Please reverse the Trump administration's delisting rule to restore protections for our nation's gray wolves.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]