Plan to Delist Wolves Endangers Other Species

Plan to delist gray wolf endangers other threatened species, researchers find

3 hours ago by Emily Caldwell

The federal government’s proposal to discontinue protection for the gray wolf across the United States could have the unintended consequence of endangering other species, researchers say.

As written, scientists assert, the proposed rule would set a precedent allowing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to declare habitat unsuitable for an endangered animal because a threat exists on the land – the exact opposite of the service’s mandate to impose regulations that reduce threats against imperiled species.

The FWS has “conflated threats with habitat suitability” by stating that U.S. land currently unoccupied by wolves – most of the country that historically served as wolf habitat – is now unsuitable because humans living in those regions won’t tolerate the animals, the lead scientist said. This claim runs counter to existing research, which the service did not cite in its explanation of the rule.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to detail what the threats are and if they’re substantial enough, they’re supposed to list a species and put in place policies to mitigate the threats,” said Jeremy Bruskotter, associate professor in The Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources and lead author of the paper.

“Here, they’re saying that they recognize the threat of human intolerance and instead of mitigating the threat, they’re just going to say the land is unsuitable.”

Were this rule to stand, he said, “Anytime the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds that something is in the way of a species’ recovery, they can just say the habitat is unsuitable for the species and disregard the threat altogether.”

FWS proposed removing the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from the list of threatened and endangered species in June. The rule covers most of the continental United States where wolves historically existed, before being exterminated by people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Public comments closed Dec. 17, and will be analyzed and considered before the service issues a final rule.

The critique is published online in the journal Conservation Letters.

Congress passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973. The act expanded on previous legislation by providing for the protection of any species in danger of or threatened with extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.


5 thoughts on “Plan to Delist Wolves Endangers Other Species

  1. most people into wildlife and natural ecosystems etc outside of America consider the wolf to be an iconic, much needed and symbolic animal of that country. the howls of wolves is one of the most beautiful sounds mother nature provides and should be treasured. the wolf along with many other animals is a major part of the natural balance of nature and if it gets taken away then nature will suffer. how a country as vast and supposedly beautiful as the USA can take away the protected status of one of its best loved animals is mindblowingly idiotic and will no doubt afford it’s tourism no end of negativity……..shame on you America

  2. USFWS is considering the wishes of hunters in its’ decision to delist or not wolves. So, is it the job of USFWS to protect the wishes of hunters or to protect species from hunters and regulate species protection Vis a Vis ranchers and hunters and encroachment. They, USFWS should not even care much about the wishes of hunters in protecting apex predators from them, from killing them at all or at least limiting the killing to a regulated hunting season. The American public wants wolves in the wilderness and does not want them delisted and turned over to wolf massacring states’ management which in the wolf massacring states amounts to turning them over to hunters and rancher wishes which may mean annihilation again or extreme marginalization. Suitable habitat should be the question, of which there is still much left. The idea that if hunters “will not tolerate wolves” then there is not suitable habitat for wolves to exist in those areas is absurd and shows USFWS as purely politicizing this issue. Hunters can be made to tolerate wolves by law. That is how the Endangered Species Act works. It protects threatened species from man. I think the USFWS needs to be fired as an agency and reconstituted in the interest of wildlife and balanced ecology, where possible, and species biological diversity. USFWS has become to influenced by sportsmen and ranchers and anti-wildlife balanced ecology state legislators and politicians. It is the opposite of what USFWS is supposed to be about.

  3. It’s painfully obvious that the wolf is still in danger of being wiped out, and sad that we are backwards on this issue. Its so hard to see things getting worse and feel so helpless about it.

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