Gray Wolves Lose Protection, Still in Danger

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Gray Wolf

Earlier this month, gray wolves were taken off the Endangered Species List by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, exposing them up once again to being hunted. However, many argue that this move was premature and that the wolves have not yet reached a sustainable population. For many conservationists, 500 breeding-animals are necessary to maintain a species but there are currently only 200 wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain area. In the state of Idaho, 26 family packs have already been tagged for killing and will be gunned down from an airplane, and in the Great Lakes region, state law will allow the killing of large numbers of the animals.

Gray wolves historically roamed most of the country, but due to increased hunting, the animals now live mostly in a few concentrated areas. Scientists have lobbied to keep them on the Endangered Species List to boost their number back to their historic numbers, but this new development is a serious threat to this plan. For years, the Bush administration had tried to take the animals off the list, but advocates fought hard, and twice kept this from happening. The final ruling was published in Bush’s last days and was then approved by the Obama administration. Conservationists have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue that will become active if the gray wolves are not returned to the Endangered Species List by June 2.
-Jackie Gallegos
The Wolf and the Polar Bear (by Jonathan Hiskies, Grist)


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