Hundreds of wolf advocates came together over the past two weeks to voice their opposition to the Trump administration’s proposal to prematurely end federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states.
May 14th (since extended to July 15) marks the end of a 60-day public comment period on the delisting proposal. Despite multiple requests from conservation organizations, members of Congress, and other elected officials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) refused to hold a single public hearing or extend the comment period. In 2013 when the FWS last discussed delisting gray wolves, FWS held six public hearings around the country to ensure adequate engagement in the decision-making process. It’s clearer than ever that the Trump administration would rather push its agenda across the finish line with as little public input as possible. Defenders knows the conservation of gray wolves is important to Americans, so we took matters into our own hands and held community hearings in Denver, CO, Sacramento, CA and Portland, OR.
Each hearing brought diverse voices to the table including wolf experts, members of Congress, ranchers, former administrative officials, and conservation leaders who brought life to this apex predator and reinforced the need to further recover a species vital to restoring ecosystem health.
The restoration of wolves has been hailed as one of the greatest successes of the Endangered Species Act. But removing federal protections now could undermine their battle for survival and drive the gray wolf back towards the brink of extinction. It would make it near impossible for wolves to continue to expand their range into once-held territories which still contain high quality habitat and benefit those ecosystems the way that they have in Yellowstone and elsewhere since their return. Since the premature delisting of wolves in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, thousands of wolves have died at the hand of trophy hunters, trappers, and others under anti-wolf state management practices and their populations have not been able to grow and expand into places such as Colorado and Utah.
The FWS’s 60-day public comment period on the proposed delisting ends soon — take action today! This could be your last chance to voice your support for America’s iconic and beloved gray wolves.