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Poll Finds Strong Public Support for ESA… and Wolves

March 9, 2011

HELENA, Mont. - Scientists should make wildlife management decisions, not politicians. Ninety-two percent recently polled are in agreement with that view, and support is equally as strong for the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The points are especially timely because the Continuing Budget Resolution being debated in the U.S. Senate takes up both those issues, as well as possibly removing ESA protections for wolves. Derek Goldman, Northern Rockies representative for the Endangered Species Coalition, which commissioned the poll, says they aren't party-line issues, either.

"Across all political ideologies, Americans support the Endangered Species Act and recognize that it's a safety net for protecting fish, plants and wildlife that are on the brink of extinction."

Goldman says support for the ongoing recovery of gray wolves under the ESA in Montana and other "wolf states" came in at 78 percent. He describes that as likely a surprise, based on what the public has heard and read recently on the topic.

"I think there's a small but vocal minority that's putting out this idea that the wolf is the enemy, and this poll shows the opposite. Americans recognize the gray wolf as part of our wildlife heritage."

The survey results are online at http://ht.ly/4appW. Goldman notes the Endangered Species Coalition did similar polling six years ago, with similar results.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT