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Poll Finds Strong Public Support for Endangered Species Act…and Wolves

March 11, 2011

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A new poll showing strong public support for the Endangered Species Act comes as the U.S. House of Representatives considers a stopgap federal spending plan that includes removing endangered species protection for the gray wolf.

Wolves don't live in Connecticut but have been sighted as near as Massachusetts.

The poll also found that 92 percent of respondents felt that scientists, not politicians, should make wildlife-management decisions. Derek Goldman, spokesman for the Endangered Species Coalition, says it's not a party-line issue.

"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."

The coalition paid for the poll and did similar polling six years ago with similar results.

Support for the ongoing recovery of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies came in at 78 percent, Goldman says, adding that some people might be surprised by that figure given what the public has heard and read recently.

"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."

Connecticut lists nine endangered species, including several sea turtles, the right whale and the roseate tern.

Melinda Tuhus/Dallas Heltzell, Public News Service - CT