Leaked Document: Scientists Ordered to Scrap Plan to Protect Wolverines

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolverine-07-07-2014.html

Despite Extinction Threat From Global Warming, Obama Administration Caves to
Pressure From States, Overrules Federal Scientists

WASHINGTON— According to a leaked memo obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, scientists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been ordered to reverse their own conclusions and withdraw last year’s proposal to protect American wolverines under the Endangered Species Act.

Wolverine
Photo by Steve Kroschel, USFWS. Photos are available for media use.

Fewer than 300 wolverines remain in the lower 48 states, and global warming over the next 75 years is predicted to wipe out 63 percent of the snowy habitat they need to survive, government scientists have said. In fact changes due to climate warming are “threatening the species with extinction,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said in last year’s announcement of its protection proposal.

Now the memo — signed by Noreen Walsh, director of the Rocky Mountain Region of the Fish and Wildlife Service — tells federal scientists to set aside those conclusions, even though there has been no new science casting doubt on those findings.

“The Obama administration’s own scientists have said for years that global warming is pushing wolverines toward extinction, and now those conclusions are being cast aside for political convenience,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “This is a bizarre and disturbing turn, especially for an administration that’s vowed to let science rule the day when it comes to decisions about the survival of our most endangered wildlife.”

Fish and Wildlife Service scientists proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the wolverine in February 2013. Subsequently state officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming raised questions about the degree to which wolverines are dependent on persistent snow and about the degree to which warming will impact their habitat. In response Fish and Wildlife convened a panel of scientists to review the science behind the proposal, resulting in a report in which “nine out of nine panelists expressed pessimism for the long-term (roughly end-of-century) future of wolverines in the contiguous U.S. because of the effects of climate change on habitat.”

Based on the conclusions of the panel, scientists from the Montana field office of the Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that protection be finalized, but, as shown in the leaked memo, were overruled by agency bureaucrats.

“The decision to overrule agency scientists and deny protection to the wolverine is deeply disappointing and shows that political interference in what should be a scientific decision continues to be a problem under the Obama administration, just as it was under George W. Bush,” said Greenwald. “Wolverines and the winter habitats they depend on are severely threatened by our warming world. Only serious action to reduce fossil fuels can save the wolverine, tens of thousands of other species, and our very way of life.”

Background
On Feb. 4, 2013, the Fish and Wildlife Service found that wolverines warrant protection as a threatened species, concluding based on the “best scientific and commercial information available” that “the contiguous United States wolverine DPS presently meets the definition of a threatened species due to the likelihood of habitat loss caused by climate change resulting in population decline leading to breakdown of metapopulation dynamics.” This conclusion was based on the fact that “(w)olverines require habitats with near-arctic conditions wherever they occur,” that they “exist as small and semi-isolated subpopulations in a larger metapopulation that requires regular dispersal of wolverines between habitat patches to maintain itself” and that “(c)limate changes are predicted to reduce wolverine habitat and range by 31 percent over the next 30 years and 63 percent over the next 75 years, rendering remaining wolverine habitat significantly smaller and more fragmented.”

In response to the proposed rule, the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming all submitted comments opposing protection of wolverines, questioning the science behind the conclusion that they were threatened by climate change. To address these concerns, the Fish and Wildlife Service delayed final protection for six months and convened an expert scientific panel to evaluate the science. The panel issued a report in April 2014 concluding that “there are three primary climate related factors that are correlated with wolverines: persistent deep snow, contiguous snow, and temperature,” a finding that led to the panel’s unanimous statement of concern for the long-term survival  of wolverines in the contiguous United States. These conclusions support the conclusion of the proposed rule that the wolverine is threatened with extinction.

On May 17, 2014, the assistant regional director of ecological services at the Fish and Wildlife Service sent a memo to the regional director in Denver transmitting the recommendation of the Montana field office that “the wolverine listing be finalized as threatened.” The memo further concludes that, “In our review we have been unable to obtain or evaluate any other peer reviewed literature or other bodies of evidence that would lead us to a different conclusion.”

In contrast, the recently leaked memo overrules and ignores the substantial evidence and conclusions of the proposed rule, the independent science panel report, and the strong conclusions of the Montana field office, which is staffed with the agency scientists who have the greatest knowledge of wolverines.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Wolf OR7 may have found a mate

May 12, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore.— OR7, a wolf originally from northeast Oregon, may have found a mate in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.

In early May, remote cameras on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest captured several images of what appears to be a black female wolf in the same area where OR7 is currently located. The images were found by wildlife biologists when they checked cameras on May 7.

The remote cameras were set up by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) as part of ongoing cooperative wolf monitoring efforts.  New images of OR7 were also captured on the same cameras and can be accessed and viewed at ODFW’s wolf photo gallery (see first three images).

“This information is not definitive, but it is likely that this new wolf and OR7 have paired up.  More localized GPS collar data from OR7 is an indicator that they may have denned,” said John Stephenson, Service wolf biologist. “If that is correct, they would be rearing pups at this time of year.”

The Service and ODFW probably won’t be able to confirm the presence of pups until June or later, the earliest pup surveys are conducted, so as not to disturb them at such a young age.  Wolf pups are generally born in mid-April, so any pups would be less than a month old at this time.

If confirmed, the pups would mark the first known wolf breeding in the Oregon Cascades since the early 20th century.

Wolf OR7 is already well-known due to his long trek and his search for a mate—normal behavior for a wolf, which will leave a pack to look for new territory and for a chance to mate.  “This latest development is another twist in OR7’s interesting story,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator.

The Service and ODFW will continue to monitor the area to gather additional information on the pair and possible pups. That monitoring will include the use of remote cameras, DNA sample collection from scats found, and pup surveys when appropriate.

Wolves throughout Oregon are protected by the state Endangered Species Act.  Wolves west of Oregon Highways 395-78-95, including OR7 and the female wolf, are also protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, with the Service as the lead management agency.

At the end of last year, there were 64 known wolves in Oregon.  Except for OR7, most known wolves are in the northeast corner of the state.

About OR7

OR7 was born into northeast Oregon’s Imnaha wolf pack in April 2009 and collared by ODFW on Feb. 25, 2011.  He left the pack in September 2011, travelled across Oregon and into California on Dec. 28, 2011, becoming the first known wolf in that state since 1924.

Other wolves have travelled further, and other uncollared wolves may have made it to California.  But OR7’s GPS collar, which transmits his location data several times a day, enabled wildlife managers to track him closely.

Since March 2013, OR7 has spent the majority of his time in the southwest Cascades in an area mapped on ODFW’s website.

###

Contact:

Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish & Wildlife Office
2600 SE 98th Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, Oregon  97266
Contact: Elizabeth Materna, Phone: 503-231-6179 Fax: 503-231-6195
http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Michelle Dennehy
Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us
Tel. (503) 947-6022

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2014/may/051214.asp

copyrighted wolf in river

Gray Wolves are Recovered; Next Up, the Mexican Wolf

What an Ashehole…

wolfWe are proposing to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico. Photo by Gary Kramer/USFWS

As many of you probably know, my dad had a great, 37-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and he describes the outfit as a collection of people who get things done — doers.  Nowhere is that trait more proudly displayed than in our four decade effort to restore the gray wolf to the American landscape, bringing the species back from extirpation and exile from the contiguous United States.

I’m the 16th Director of the Service. It was the 10th, John Turner, a Wyoming rancher and outfitter, appointed by a Republican President, who signed the record of decision that set in motion this miraculous reintroduction and recovery. It’s never been easy. We’ve had critics, fair and unfair. We’ve had great partners. Sometimes they have been one in the same. But this organization and its people have been constant. Steadfast. Committed. Professional. Determined. Now add successful!

More information on the wolf recovery

This great predator again roams the range, ridges and remote spaces of the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Western Great Lakes in one of the spectacular successes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  These recovered populations are not just being tolerated, but are expanding under professional management by our state partners.

Today, for one reason, and one reason only, we are proposing to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the United States and Mexico — they are no longer in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

 

wolf

National Elk Refuge Biologist Eric Cole affixes a collar on a male black wolf pup. We have been working on gray wolf recovery for decades. Photo by Lori Iverson/USFWS

Due to our steadfast commitment, gray wolves in the Lower 48 now represent a 400-mile southern range extension of a vast contiguous wolf population that numbers more than 12,000 wolves in western Canada and about 65,000 wolves across all of Canada and Alaska. Canadian and U.S. wolves interact and move freely between the two nations.

Of course, the gray wolf is not everywhere it once was, nor can it be; think Denver, or Minneapolis, or Salt Lake City, or even the now grain- and livestock-dominated American Plains. It’s not everywhere it can be, but our work has created the potential that it may be one day.

One thing, though, is certain: It is no longer endangered or threatened with extinction.  The ESA has done its job. Broader restoration of wolves is now possible. Indeed, it is likely. As we propose to remove ESA protections, states like Washington and Oregon are managing expanding populations under protective state laws.

And as in almost every aspect of our work, there is vigorous debate.  Can a species be considered “recovered” if it exists in only a portion of its former range, or if significant habitat is yet unoccupied?  Our answer is “yes” and we don’t need to look far for other examples.

bison

Bison on the National Bison Range in Montana. Photo by USFWS

Consider the plains bison, another magnificent, iconic animal that once roamed and ruled North American plains, coast to coast. We aren’t certain how many, but possibly 75 million. Today, there are about half a million, and they inhabit a fraction of their historical range.

But are they threatened or endangered?  No.  And in 2011, we denied a petition to give the bison Endangered Species Act protection. Wild populations are secure and growing. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about bison; it means they do not need the protections of the ESA.

Like the bison, the gray wolf no longer needs those protections.

Some say we’re abandoning wolf recovery before it is complete. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we’re proposing to hand over the management of these keystone predators to the professionals at the state and tribal wildlife agencies. We’ve been working hand-in-glove with these folks to recover the gray wolf. Their skill helped bring gray wolves back, and now they’ll work to keep wolves as a part of the landscape for future generations.

I’ve always liked the analogy of the ESA as biodiversity’s emergency room.  We are given patient species that need intensive care.  We stabilize them; we get them through recovery.  Then we hand them to other providers who will ensure they get the long-term care that they need and deserve.

We have brought back this great icon of the American wilderness.  And as we face today’s seemingly insurmountable challenges, today’s critical voices, today’s political minefields, let this success be a reminder of what we can accomplish.  We can work conservation miracles, because we have.  The gray wolf is proof.

Mexican wolf

our 2012 count showed a record number of Mexican wolves in the wild. Photo by Jim Clark/USFWS

Now it’s time for us to focus our limited resources on Mexican wolf recovery and on other species that are immediately threatened with extinction.

That is why we also proposed today to continue federal protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf, by designating it as an endangered subspecies under the ESA and proposing modifications to the regulations governing the existing nonessential experimental population.

We have received good news on the Mexican wolf recently – the 2012 population count showed a record high number of Mexican wolves in the wild.  We have a long way to go, but we are seeing success, and we will apply the same steadfast commitment, the same dedication and the same professionalism that has been the hallmark of our gray wolf success.

By employing the full protections of the ESA for the Mexican wolf, I am confident that one day we’ll be celebrating their full recovery just like we are, today, with the gray wolf.

Rare Alaskan Wolves Considered for Endangered Species List

Greenpeace March 28, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolves may need protection under the Endangered Species Act because of unsustainable logging in the Tongass National Forest and elsewhere in southeast Alaska. The agency will now conduct an in-depth status review of this rare subspecies of gray wolf, which lives only in the region’s old-growth forests.
wolfAlexander Archipelago wolf populations cannot survive in areas with high road density, which the logging industry relies on. Photo credit: Greenpeace

Today’s decision responds to a scientific petition filed in Aug. 2011 by the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace. Following the status review and a public comment period, the agency will decide whether or not to list the species as threatened or endangered.
“The Alexander Archipelago wolf, one of Alaska’s most fascinating species, needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act if it’s to have any chance at survival,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center of Biological Diversity. “The Endangered Species Act is the strongest law in the world for protecting wildlife, and it can save these beautiful wolves from reckless logging and hunting.”
Alexander Archipelago wolves den in the root systems of very large trees and hunt mostly Sitka black-tailed deer, which are themselves dependent on high-quality, old forests, especially for winter survival. A long history of clearcut logging on the Tongass and private and state-owned lands has devastated much of the wolf’s habitat on the islands of southeast Alaska.
“This gray wolf subspecies exists only in southeast Alaska, and its principle population has declined sharply in the last few years,” said Larry Edwards, Greenpeace forest campaigner and long-time resident of the region. “Endangered Species Act protection is necessary to protect the wolves, not least because of the Forest Service’s own admission that its so-called transition out of old-growth logging in the Tongass will take decades. The negative impacts on these wolves are very long-term and have accumulated over the past 60 years of industrial logging.”
The-4-timber-projects-(map)
Logging on the Tongass brings new roads, making wolves vulnerable to hunting and trapping. As many as half the wolves killed on the Tongass are killed illegally, and hunting and trapping are occurring at unsustainable levels in many areas. Despite scientific evidence showing that Alexander Archipelago wolf populations will not survive in areas with high road density, the Forest Service continues to build new logging roads in the Tongass. Road density is particularly an urgent concern on heavily fragmented Prince of Wales Island and neighboring islands, home to an important population of the wolves.
In 2013 the Alaska Board of Game authorized killing 80 percent to 100 percent of the wolves in two areas of the Tongass because habitat loss has reduced deer numbers so that human hunters and wolves are competing for deer—putting yet more pressure on the wolf population.
The Fish and Wildlife Service considered listing the wolf under the Endangered Species Act in the mid-1990s but then chose not to do so, citing new protective standards set out in the Forest Service’s 1997 Tongass Forest Plan. Unfortunately, as outlined in the conservation groups’ 2011 petition, the Forest Service has not adequately implemented those standards.
Today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 90-day finding on the Alexander Archipelago wolf determined that protecting this wolf as threatened or endangered “may be warranted” under three of the five “factors” specified in the Endangered Species Act:
1. present or threatened destruction of habitat
2. overutilization (e.g. from hunting and trapping)
3. the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms

Feds Move to Strip Endangered Species Protections From Yellowstone Grizzlies in 2014

March 27, 2014 by Louisa Willcox,

LIVINGSTON, Mt.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans on Wednesday to strip Endangered Species Act protections from Yellowstone’s iconic grizzly bears later this year. The agency will release a proposed rule removing federal protections for the bears by the end of this year, and following a public-comment period will make a final decision, said Chris Servheen, grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the Service. The move, announced at a meeting of grizzly bear managers in Jackson, Wyo., responds to a major push by Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to take over management of bears and enact sport hunts, much as they have with wolves.

“The science is clear — it’s simply way too soon to pull the plug on grizzly bear recovery,” said Louisa Willcox, a longtime advocate for grizzly bears and Northern Rockies representative of the Center for Biological Diversity. “With the lowest reproductive rate of any North American mammal, vanishing food sources and increased human-caused mortality, Yellowstone’s bears can’t withstand hunts led by states that are openly hostile to our few remaining large carnivores.”

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

The proposal comes at a time when key grizzly bear food sources in the heart of the Yellowstone ecosystem have been collapsing and grizzly mortality rates have been increasing. The dramatic decline of whitebark pine and Yellowstone cutthroat trout has prompted bears to eat more meat, such as big game gut piles and livestock, resulting in increases rates of conflict with humans and grizzly bear mortality. Drought and climate change will exacerbate these problems.

A 2009 interagency report recommended more than 70 ways to reduce conflicts, including requiring hunters to carry bear pepper spray, which is proven to be much more effective than a gun in repelling a charging bear. Other recommendations included improved grazing practices, rapid removal of hunted big game from the field and increased law enforcement.

“Unfortunately the government did not incorporate these recommendations in their policies and practices,” said Willcox. “Instead of delisting grizzlies, the government should take these practical steps to reduce conflicts and the high levels of grizzly bear mortality since 2007. It’s clear that current efforts to educate the public on how to avoid conflicts are not working.”

Yellowstone’s bears have long been isolated from other bear populations, forcing the government to keep them on permanent life support by trucking bears in to avoid inbreeding. This highlights the fact that, as a result of excessive killing and habitat destruction, grizzly bears occupy only about 1 percent of their former range in the lower 48 states. And in five of the seven remaining grizzly bear recovery zones, bears have either been exterminated or are perilously close to extinction.

“Without the protection of the Endangered Species Act, grizzly bears would not likely have survived in Yellowstone,” said Willcox, “and with the unraveling of their ecosystem, there’s no doubt they still need the federal safety net in the years to come.”

A new federal study suggests the grizzly population may have been declining by an average of 4 percent per year since 2008. A second independent analysis found that the agency’s population estimate for bears may be based on flawed assumptions that inflated total population numbers.

“The feds are bending to political pressure from the states rather than providing grizzly bears the additional breathing room they need to compensate for climate change and the loss of key foods,” said Willcox. “Now is not the time for the feds to walk away from Yellowstone grizzly bears and leave their fate up to three states that want to hunt them instead of save them from extinction.”

Grizzly bears are especially important as a measure of the health of the lands where they live. Where grizzly bears are healthy, so are an array of other species, from bighorn sheep to raptors.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/grizzly-bear-03-27-2014.html

America’s Wolves Are Under Attack

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) received feedback from nearly a million citizens and a host of conservation biologists for its decision to remove federal protections from wolves last year, and recently convened a new panel of experts to revisit the issue. This new panel found that the FWS relied upon one faulty paper to make its wrongful decision to strip wolves of their Endangered Species Act protections.

Without their federal safeguards, several states have opened trophy hunting and trapping seasons, and thousands of wolves have been mercilessly slaughtered. Help protect wolves and demand that they be given adequate federal protections to prevent future inhumane acts.

TAKE ACTION Here.
The FWS needs to hear from you before March 27. Please fill out the form below to submit a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
Dear Secretary Jewell,

I value wolves and I want to see them protected by the Endangered Species Act. Without these federal safeguards, wolves are pitted against an unfair arsenal of traps, snares, baits, hounds, and shooters who kill them from low-flying aircraft. Killing wolves puts their family packs in disarray and leaves young pups to starve.

Most Americans love wolves, and wolf-watching tourists spend millions of dollars to see them in places like Yellowstone National Park. After receiving pressure from the livestock industry and extreme groups, the government has given up on wolves and literally put them in the crosshairs before they could recover to most of their historic range. It’s quite simple: wolf populations are still recovering, and the best available science does not support their removal from the protections afforded to them by the Endangered Species Act. Please provide adequate protections for this iconic and beautiful species.

528624c939a88_preview-620

  

One More Wolf in Washington

copyrighted wolf in river

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Washington-state-wolf-population-grows-by-1-249141411.html

Washington state wolf population grows by 1

By PHUONG LE Associated Press Published: Mar 8, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) – Washington’s wildlife agency reported Saturday that its annual survey tallied 52 endangered gray wolves living in the state at the end of 2013, one more than in 2012. The count’s results come as conservation groups urge the state to pull support from a federal effort to roll back protections for the predators.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife also found five successful breeding pairs in 2013, the same number as reported in the 2012 count.

The wolf population has been a controversial topic since the predators returned to the state much faster than expected in the past several years. In 2008, there were only a handful of wolves. In March 2013, there were an estimated 50 to 100 animals in 10 confirmed packs, all in central and eastern Washington.

Farmers and hunters in the West blame the returning gray wolf population for killing livestock and reducing elk herds.

Wolves are listed as endangered throughout Washington under state law and as endangered in the western two-thirds of the state under federal law.

But federal wildlife officials want to remove wolves from the endangered species list across much the Lower 48 states, including the western portion of Washington.

State wildlife managers support federal delisting of the wolves, saying it would give the state more control over managing conflicts between wolves and livestock.

Phil Anderson, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, has said federal restrictions hamper the state’s ability to resolve those conflicts in the western part of the state.

On Thursday, several conservation groups sent a letter asking Anderson to rescind the agency’s support for federal delisting.

“Wolves are just beginning to recover in Washington and face continued persecution. Federal protection is clearly needed to keep recovery on track,” Amaroq Weiss, with the Center for Biological Diversity, said earlier this week.

Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife expressed concern for the safety of the wolf population.

“The stability of Washington’s wolf population is good news, but the population is still incredibly vulnerable during these early stages of recovery in Washington and wolves have a long way still to go,” she said.

Stone expressed hope that Washington wouldn’t let anti-wolf sentiment come over the border from Idaho and affect wolf management practices.

“We hope Washington is observing the tragic example being set in Idaho, where wolves are treated like vermin,” she said.

USFWS Grants Landowner Permit to Kill Critically Endangered Red Wolf

USFWS Grants Landowner Permit to Kill Critically Endangered Red Wolf

Landowners who own property in the vicinity of the Red Wolf Recovery  Program, a 27-year federal project aimed at restoring to the far-eastern  edge of North Carolina one of nature’s most fragile species, claim red  wolves are invading their private property and impacting their  longstanding cultural tradition of deer hunting.   Although the deer  population has dropped somewhat, NC Wildlife Resources Commission  representatives believe the decline is more likely the result of  increased doe hunting than impacts by red wolves.

USFWS Red Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Dave Rabon, said opposition to  red wolves isn’t pervasive. Cultural differences in Eastern North  Carolina make it difficult for people to support a government-funded  predator program. “A lot of them will work with us,” he said. “But  they’re not going to advertise it. They’re not going to put a bumper  sticker on their car.”

Fourteen red wolves died in 2013 that the coalition knows about,  including nine dead by suspected or confirmed gunshot wounds. Another  wolf was found killed, apparently shot, on Jan. 7.  “Because of the  similarity of appearance between red wolves and coyotes, it is nearly  impossible for individual hunters to avoid shooting red wolves,” said  the recent lawsuit that the Red Wolf Coalition and other wildlife groups  filed against the state in its claim that it is not doing enough to  protect.

To date, there are no known red wolf attacks on humans and few  documented livestock kills. Still, resentment started building early on.  Though red wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act,  locals were promised that they would be classified as “nonessential and  experimental,” giving landowners more leeway in dealing with them.

Farm owner Jett Ferebee has recently been granted by the USFWS the  first (and only) known permit to kill one of the red wolves that they  had not been able to trap and remove it from his Tyrell County  property,  as long as the taking was done while trying to legally kill  coyotes on his farm.

Relief for landowners depends on what they expect,” said USFWS Red  Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Dave Rabon.”  Canids of some kind, whether  wolves or coyotes, will always be in the area.  With Mr. Ferebee,” he  said, “we’ve been very successful removing animals from his property  when he’s called us. But it’s temporary. They’re going to come back.  Something is going to come back.”   Rabon added that opposition isn’t  pervasive. Cultural differences in Eastern North Carolina make it  difficult for people to support a government-funded predator program. “A  lot of them will work with us,” he said. “But they’re not going to  advertise it. They’re not going to put a bumper sticker on their car.”

Fourteen red wolves died in 2013 that the Red Wolf Coalition knows  about, including nine dead by suspected or confirmed gunshot wounds.  Another wolf was found killed, apparently shot, on Jan. 7.   “Because of  the similarity of appearance between red wolves and coyotes, it is  nearly impossible for individual hunters to avoid shooting red wolves,”  said the lawsuit that the Red Wolf Coalition and other wildlife groups  filed against the state.

If successful, the suit could stop coyote hunting altogether in the  five eastern counties. If it does, one can expect continued conflict  between pro-recovery efforts and landowners.

The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the world’s most endangered  canids.  Once common throughout the eastern and southcentral United  States, red wolf populations were decimated by the early part of the  20th century as a result of intensive predator control programs and  habitat loss.  We oppose USFWS’ action to allow this landowner to  lethally remove a red wolf. Thus, we ask that you express your  opposition with a respectful email to the parties below:

By email:

cynthia_dohner@fws.gov (Regional Director, Southeast Region)

leopoldo_miranda@fws.gov (Assistant Regional Director, Southeast Region)

d_m_ashe@fws.gov (Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

US government could drive grey wolf to extinction

http://www.salon.com/2014/02/14/outrageous_the_u_s_may_take_the_grey_wolf_off_the_endangered_species_list_paper/

Friday, Feb 14, 2014

OnEarth About 300 wolves live in the nearly 2-million-acre swath of central Ontario forest known as Algonquin Provincial Park. These wolves are bigger and broader than coyotes, but noticeably smaller than the gray wolves of Yellowstone. So how do they fit into the wolf family tree? Scientists don’t agree on the answer—yet it could now affect the fate of every wolf in the United States.

That’s because last June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing gray wolves across most of the country from the endangered species list, a move that would leave the animals vulnerable to hunting. To support its proposal, the agency used a contested scientific paper—published, despite critical peer review, in the agency’s own journal—to argue that gray wolves never existed in the eastern United States, so they shouldn’t have been protected there in the first place.

Instead of the gray wolf, the service said, an entirely different species of wolf—the so-called “eastern wolf,” a species whose remnants perhaps survive in Algonquin Park—once inhabited the forests of eastern North America. Canid biologists have argued over the existence of this “lost species” for years. Yet researchers on all sides say that even if the Algonquin wolves are a separate species, that shouldn’t preclude continuing protections for the gray wolf.

On Friday, an independent panel of five leading geneticists and taxonomists came down hard on the agency’s proposal to delist gray wolves, unanimously concluding that the service had not relied on the “best available science.” Individual panel members described “glaring insufficiencies” in the supporting research and said the agency’s conclusions had fundamental flaws.

“What’s most significant,” says Andrew Wetzler, director of land and wildlife programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council (which publishes OnEarth), “is that this is coming from a group of eminent biologists who disagree with each other about the eastern wolf—and even so, they agree that the agency hasn’t properly understood the scientific issues at hand.”

copyrighted wolf in water

Service Reopens Comment Period on Wolf Proposal

http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=0D493E53-AC54-99DD-52400A7BAA5A6085

February 7, 2014
Contacts: Gavin Shire, 703-346-9123 , gavin_shire@fws.gov

Independent scientific peer review report available for public review

Following receipt of an independent scientific peer review, thecopyrighted Hayden wolf walking U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period on its proposal to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies and remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List. The Service is making that report available for public review, and beginning Monday, February 10, interested stakeholders will have an additional 45 days to provide information that may be helpful to the Service in making a final determination on the proposal.

The independent scientific peer review was hosted and managed by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), a highly respected interdisciplinary research center at the University of California – Santa Barbara. At the Service’s request, NCEAS sponsored and conducted a peer review of the science underlying the Service’s proposal.

“Peer review is an important step in our efforts to assure that the final decision on our proposal to delist the wolf is based on the best available scientific and technical information,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “We thank the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis for conducting a transparent, objective and well-documented process. We are incorporating the peer review report into the public record for the proposed rulemaking, and accordingly, reopening the public comment period to provide the public with the opportunity for input.”

The peer review report is available online, along with instructions on how to provide comment and comprehensive links relating to the proposal, at http://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery.

The Service intends that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best available information. Comments and materials we receive, as well as some of the supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, are available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov under the docket number FWS–HQ–ES–2013–0073.

The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes. Comments must be received by midnight on March 27.

The Federal Register publication of this notice will be available online Feb. 10 at http://www.fws.gov/policy/frsystem/default.cfm by clicking on the 2014 Proposed Rules under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=0D493E53-AC54-99DD-52400A7BAA5A6085

The Service expects to make final determination on the proposal by the end of 2014.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov.

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