Wolves are no longer endangered, so why are they still protected?
Nathan M. Roberts, PHD, considered an expert on the scientific research and data on furbearers and carnivores, testified on his own behalf, not representing any organization or entity but science, before Congress to the Members of the Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries regarding the delisting of the Grey Wolf from the ESA Act. “The gray wolf in the United States is recovered, no longer in danger of extinction, and should be removed from the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA),” was Dr. Roberts’ opening statement.
He then continued, “There is no doubt that the wolf is recovered in the United States. In the Great Lakes region alone, the wolf population was estimated at over 4200 individuals. The established recovery plan for this region set clear numeric goals to serve as criteria for determining successful recovery. These goals have been exceeded every year since 1994. In addition to meeting the threshold over three decades ago, the regional population is now estimated to be at least ten times the established delisting threshold.
“Failing to recognize that wolves are recovered and taking appropriate action to reflect this reality via delisting undermines the intention of the ESA. The act was intended to provide temporary protection and funding until a species met established recovery goals. Then after these recovery goals are met, the states are to regain management authority following delisting. By not delisting the wolves, even after they have far exceeded recovery goals, the integrity of the ESA is compromised.
“Additionally, funding and other resources are encumbered for wolves, a recovered species, that could otherwise be dedicated to species that are truly in need of assistance. Furthermore, the endless litigation cycle, that disregards scientifically-based recovery goals, disincentivize jurisdictions from pursuing endangered species recovery or embarking on partnerships to restore species that are actually imperiled,” Roberts clarifies.
In portions of his conclusion Dr. Roberts states, “It is unfortunate that litigious entities continue to abuse the ESA and blatantly ignore science. As a result, we have a population that has been recovered for almost three decades and is at least an order of magnitude above standard and agreed recovery goals yet it is still listed. Sadly, the result is that science is devalued, partnerships are avoided, the public is disenchanted, and conservation suffers.”
“QUWF absolutely supports the science based data and recommendations of Dr. Roberts though he is not representing us in his scientific and research opinion,” explains Craig Alderman of QUWF. “His experience and research are exceptional for the entire conservation community and should be heeded for the future of wildlife and their habitat we all work to preserve” Alderman states.
What do you think? Are gray wolves out of the woods … or are they out of the woods and at your door?
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