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Biden Administration Urged to Restore Gray Wolf Protections

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U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered a broad review of the Trump administration's wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves. (wolf.org)
U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered a broad review of the Trump administration's wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves. (wolf.org)
 By Roz Brown - Producer, Contact
May 14, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. - With a new administration at the White House, a group of scientists is asking that federal protections be reinstated for gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

In a letter sent yesterday, 115 scientists with expertise in areas related to wolf conservation are asking Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore protections eliminated in January by the Trump administration.

Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the current designation cannot sustain wolf populations.

"Wolves are so important to our ecosystems," said Adkins. "And there are so many places where wolves once lived and could live again."

The letter argues that gray wolves do not currently meet the principle of representation because they do not securely inhabit the West Coast, Southern Rockies, the Great Plains, or the Northeast - vast regions of the country where they once flourished.

Adkins said scientists who signed the letter want the federal government to get involved because they don't believe states can be trusted with wolf management. One example, she said, is a recent wolf hunt in Wisconsin that lasted past its quota.

"We just saw outrageous legislation passed in Idaho and Montana that would extirpate wolves there," said Adkins. "Basically driving them down to the brink of extinction again - removing more than 90% of the animals in the state."

Adkins added that the recent legislation of wolf management in states like Idaho and Montana puts long-term recovery of wolves in jeopardy by reducing the probability of dispersals from existing recovery areas.

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