Wolf Woes Continue in the West
President Bush is gone, but wolves in the West face a new foe in the Obama administration. Defenders filed a lawsuit on June 4 challenging Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision to strip federal protections for wolves in Idaho, Montana and eastern portions of Oregon and Washington and northern Utah. In agreeing with a Bush administration decision to delist these wolves, Salazar will allow the killing of more than two-thirds of the current wolf population in this region. "The plan allows Idaho and Montana to reduce wolf populations to levels that would threaten genetic diversity and undermine the goal of ensuring a healthy, sustainable wolf population in the region. Secretary Salazar's decision leaves us no choice but to stand up for wolves in court," says Defenders' President Rodger Schlickeisen. Learn more about northern Rockies wolves.
Tossing a Lifeline to the Fisher
It's elusive, agile and tough. But such traits haven't stopped the fisher from becoming imperiled in the northern Rockies, where logging is decimating the old-growth forests it needs to survive. Fur-trapping has also long been a problem for this member of the weasel family, which is why Defenders and others petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February to protect the population under the Endangered Species Act. In 2004, the government agency found that the West Coast fisher population warranted protection but the listing was precluded by other priorities.
The Road Less Wanted
In a robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul move, Congress recently approved an unnecessary road that will slice through designated wilderness in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. As part of the omnibus public lands bill, Congress will, in exchange, protect state lands near the refuge. But conservationists say that the land swap will irreparably scar pristine and crucial wetlands in the refuge, and would set a precedent for road-building in designated wilderness areas. Defenders is working to ensure the Interior Department denies the road. Learn more about Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.
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