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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.

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Community Hearing Set on Ending Federal Protections for Gray Wolves

Since federal protections for wolves were lifted in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in 2011, wildlife advocates say trophy hunters and trappers have killed some 3,000 wolves. (Eric Kilby/Wikimedia Commons)
Since federal protections for wolves were lifted in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in 2011, wildlife advocates say trophy hunters and trappers have killed some 3,000 wolves. (Eric Kilby/Wikimedia Commons)
April 29, 2019

DENVER – After repeated calls for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hold public hearings on the Trump administration's decision to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List in all lower 48 states, wildlife advocates are taking the matter into their own hands by hosting community forums in Sacramento, Portland – and Monday night in Denver.

Deanna Noel, national outreach director with the group Defenders of Wildlife, says while wolf recovery efforts are hailed as one the Endangered Species Act's biggest success stories, delisting would put those gains at risk.

"This is a move that Defenders of Wildlife finds premature, and one that we feel could really expose gray wolves to unrestricted hunting and killing, which could really send them closer to extinction," she states.

Due to habitat loss, hunting and other human activity, wolf populations in the lower 48 states have dropped from nearly 2 million to just under 5,000 today.

Since ESA protections for wolves were lifted in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in 2011, Noel says trophy hunters and trappers have killed more than 3,000 wolves.

Proponents of delisting argue that current wolf numbers are healthy in areas targeted for recovery, so they favor removing ESA protections.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, wolves need to connect with other populations to ensure genetic sustainability, but today wolves occupy less than 10% of their historic range and continue to face threats.

Noel adds bringing the animal back to Colorado to play out its natural role as keystone, apex predators would benefit entire landscapes.

"They play an invaluable role in maintaining the health and balance of ecosystems, and keep species like elk in check,” she states. “Wolves also prevent environmental hazards like overgrazing and erosion, and improve water quality."

Gov. Jared Polis, U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette of Denver and Joe Neguse of Boulder-Fort Collins have asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for hearings, but those requests have so far been denied.

The forum in Denver begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Alliance Center, near Union Station. Public comments can also be submitted online at FederalRegister.gov through May 14.

Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO