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PNS Daily Newscast - September 20, 2019 


A whistleblower complaint against President Trump sets off tug-of-war between Congress and the White House; and students around the world strike today to demand action on climate change.

2020Talks - September 20, 2019. (3 min.)  


Climate change is a big issue this election season, and global climate strikes kick off, while UAW labor strikes continue.

Daily Newscasts

Federal Protections On the Way Out for Gray Wolves

Wildlife biologists point to the reintroduction of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone ecosysten as one reason ecological balance has been restored in the region, including the resurgence of willows, cottonwoods and songbirds. (Pixabay)
Wildlife biologists point to the reintroduction of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone ecosysten as one reason ecological balance has been restored in the region, including the resurgence of willows, cottonwoods and songbirds. (Pixabay)
March 8, 2019

LARAMIE, Wyo. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in all lower 48 states.

Gray wolves in the Northern Rockies were officially delisted in 2008, and in Wyoming it is legal to kill wolves outside the Yellowstone ecosystem, or in about 90 percent of the state.

In many parts of the western United States, said wildlife biologist Eric Molvar, director of the Western Watersheds Project, wolves essentially are absent, and the animal is just starting to be re-established in limited areas.

"But across most of the United States, wolves are incredibly rare," he said, "so, taking them off the endangered species list before they've been fully recovered is, from a scientific standpoint, ludicrous."

Historic gray wolf populations in North America reached 2 million, but were nearly driven to extinction by the early 1900s. The species won federal protection in 1974 and, today, roughly 5,500 wolves live in the continental United States. The Trump administration has decided the species has fully recovered and no longer needs protections, and groups representing farmers and ranchers have praised the move.

Molvar said the livestock industry has been working to delist wolves for years because native predators threaten their profitability on public lands, especially in western states.

"On Western public lands," he said, "the livestock industry needs to learn to coexist with wolves and every other native species that the public has an interest in having out on our public lands."

Molvar added that the absence of wolves across much of the West is in part responsible for ecological imbalances and the spread of chronic wasting disease. When wolves were brought back to Yellowstone, he said, deer and elk populations dispersed, allowing for rebounds of streamside willows, cottonwoods and songbirds.

The public will have a chance to comment on the proposal after it's entered into the Federal Register.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY