To the Editor:
President Donald Trump plans to prematurely strip Endangered Species Act protection from gray wolves in nearly all of the lower 48 states. But some of the country’s top wolf scientists just pointed out major flaws in the administration’s proposal.
According to the peer reviews commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency’s proposal contains substantial errors and misrepresents the most current science on wolf conservation and taxonomy.
These expert opinions confirm that the critical work of recovering this imperiled species is far from complete. Their devastating verdict should sink the Trump administration’s blatantly political effort to end protection for wolves. The federal government should not allow these animals to be shot and trapped.
Today, wolves have expanded their range into more of the upper Midwest, the northern Rockies and Oregon. But they remain absent from the vast majority of their former range. This includes areas that could support and benefit from wolves, like the southern Rockies, most of western Oregon and Washington, the Sierra Nevada and the Adirondacks.
These important animals remain threatened by the same animosity, persecution and killing that nearly drove them to extinction in the first place. For all these reasons, wolves need continued Endangered Species Act protections.
Wolves are integral to healthy wild lands. If they are stripped of lifesaving federal protections, decades of work and millions of dollars spent on their recovery would be undone. This would be tragic for the wolves and the natural systems they benefit.
Carnivore Conservation Director
Center for Biological Diversity