Monday, April 1, 2019

Battle Looms Over Gray Wolf Protection

This is interesting.

I don't support hunting wildlife simply for bragging rights and Instagram/ Twitter selfies. At one point there were millions of gray wolves covering every corner of the United States. Now, there's about 6,000. They're on the federal Endangered Species List. I don't have an opinion on whether federal protection is better or not, but it's worth considering. Conservatism is about conservation, and smart use of our natural resources is conservative.

In any case, at the Los Angles Times, "Plan to remove gray wolves from Endangered Species Act sparks battle":


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and environmentalists are at war over the agency’s latest plan to strip gray wolves of their federal protections and turn management of the often-reviled predators over to states and tribes.

“If the agency’s proposal gets finalized, we will see them in court,” Michael Robinson, a spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity said on Wednesday. “Delisting is simply out of the question.”

Surprisingly, however, in the latest chapter of a long-running battle to keep an estimated 6,000 gray wolves safe from trophy hunters and trappers, the center and the Humane Society of the United States are suggesting a compromise.

“We are proposing an alternate path forward — downlisting the gray wolf from federally endangered to threatened status,” said Brett Hartl, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. That action, he said, “would maintain federal protections the animal needs to survive in certain areas, while allowing states to share management oversight.”

His organization doesn’t oppose state management of wolves, but it does oppose hunting wolves for sport, he said. “Free-for-all hunting of wolves is not management, it’s slaughter.”

Similarly, Nick Arrivo, an attorney with the Humane Society of the United States, said, “We don’t oppose the idea of state management. The problem is that certain states like Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan have shown that they are not inclined to maintain healthy populations of gray wolves.”

Federal wildlife authorities removed protections from gray wolves in the Great Lakes region in 2011, allowing thousands of gray wolves in those three states to be hunted or trapped. The protections were restored by federal court decisions in 2014.

The prospect of removing wolf protections aroused rage yet again earlier this month when the Fish and Wildlife Service touted the species' recovery as "one of the greatest comebacks for an animal in U.S. conservation history,” a characterization that some conservation groups called misguided and premature.

David Bernhardt, acting secretary of the Department of Interior, said the plan to delist the species “puts us one step closer to transitioning the extraordinary effort that we have invested in gray wolf recovery to other species who actually need the protections of the Endangered Species Act, leaving the states to carry on the legacy of wolf conservation.”

However, the Humane Society, in a statement, warned that the plan catered “to a narrow group of special interests: the trophy hunters and trappers who want to kill wolves for bragging rights, social media opportunities and to increase deer and elk populations.”

It pointed out, for instance, that in November, “Americans were heartbroken” by the killing of the famous Yellowstone black wolf, Spitfire, by a trophy hunter in Montana.

It also argued that gray wolves are worth millions of dollars to the economies of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, studies show, because of the visitors they attract to national parks in the northern Rocky Mountains...
Keep reading.

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