Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wolf Weekly Wrap Up

Lawsuit Challenges Dismantling of Red Wolf Recovery Program
Red wolfThe Center launched a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday for essentially halting the recovery program for red wolves -- of which fewer than 50 now survive in the North Carolina wild.

Bowing to political pressure, the Service has dropped virtually all aspects of the recovery program for red wolves and is using every pretext to further dismantle it; the agency eliminated the program's recovery coordinator in 2014 and stopped the introduction of new red wolves into the wild in July 2015.

"Never in its history has the Fish and Wildlife Service deliberately chosen to undermine the survival of a species entrusted to its care by doing the exact opposite of what its own recovery plan recommends," said the Center's Brett Hartl. "Director Dan Ashe and the Fish and Wildlife Service are condemning the red wolf to extinction." Read more in our press release and watch our video.
Government snipers gunned down 20 wolves from a helicopter in Idaho last month -- and now they want to start mowing down wolves in Oregon. The Center for Biological Diversity is going to court to stop the killing.

Our intervention comes just as the situation for wolves in the Northwest turns dire. Last week Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a law ending state-level protections for wolves, stripping away one more layer of protection from these social, intelligent animals.

And it's not just Oregon's 81 remaining wolves that are at stake, not by a long shot. Wildlife Services is the shadowy federal program that serves as the government's contract killers of wildlife. They show up when governors, powerful corporations and Big Ag call, slaughtering millions of animals a year, including wolves, bears, mountain lions, hawks and otters. They operate without accountability, behind a veil of secrecy -- and we're going to put a stop to it.

To win this critical lawsuit we need your help with a donation to our Stop Wildlife Services Fund.

Wildlife Services' aerial snipers, neck traps and cyanide land mines are always ready to do the bidding of Oregon's beef industry -- despite new research that found killing wolves actually increases wolf-livestock conflicts. This indiscriminate killing makes no sense, and it has to end. It's going to cost us dearly, but we're committed.

That's why we need your contribution to our Stop Wildlife Services Fund. Our scientists, lawyers and activists will put your support straight to work.

I'm sickened by the tally from 2014 alone: Wildlife Services killed 322 gray wolves, 61,702 coyotes, 580 black bears, 305 mountain lions, 796 bobcats, 454 river otters, 2,930 foxes, 1,330 hawks and 22,496 beavers. Since 2001 they've spent more than $1 billion in taxpayers' money to kill animals. Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio says: "Wildlife Services is one of the most opaque and least accountable agencies that I know of in the federal government. They are a world unto themselves. And that's a world we are not allowed to see into."

You can help us today. Let's shut down the Wildlife Services killing machine.

Fighting for Wildlife in Grand Teton
On Wednesday, Defenders, Earthjustice and Wyoming Wildlife Advocates filed a legal challenge to the National Park Service’s 2014 decision to give the state of Wyoming wildlife management authority on private and state-owned inholdings inside Grand Teton National Park. The decision has already led to the killing of bison within park boundaries and exposes a host of park wildlife, including coyotes and foxes, to unregulated killing as vermin under state law. This unprecedented decision potentially exposes wildlife residing in Grand Teton—including (in the event of endangered species delisting) grizzly bears and wolves—to state-authorized hunting, baiting, and trapping. It also sets a dangerous precedent for the numerous other national parks that contain private or state-owned inholdings. The law is clear that wildlife is protected within national parks even where there are private or state lands located within a park. Defenders and our partners are asking a judge to enforce the law to protect Grand Teton and to prevent this terrible precedent from spreading to other National Parks across the country.

For wolves in Yellowstone, opposites attract

A study published in Evolution has found a strong correlation for what is called negative-assortative mating among wolves in Yellowstone. Put simply, black wolves and gray wolves tend to pair up with each other, instead of wolves of the same color. This fascinating finding leads to plenty of follow up questions: is negative-assortative mating a phenomenon among all wolves, or just the wolves of Yellowstone? Why does it occur? Does it have an effect on wolf survival? Do these color cues it help wolves avoid inbreeding? We may not know the answers just yet, but what we do know that the Yellowstone wolves are an American success story 21 years after the first wolves released into the park-and they still need our help. Read here about the 20th anniversary of the Yellowstone wolf release!

This Wolf Breed Could Go Extinct
The Mexican gray wolf used to roam much of the American Southwest, particularly Arizona and New Mexico. Now, just over 100 of these animals remain in the wild. To make matters worse, both of these states have very strong anti-wolf policies. If we don't step in now, we could lose these wolves for good.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the power to keep local state governments at bay while the Mexican gray wolf population recovers, but anti-wolf politicians are trying to bully them into relinquishing control. Let's make sure this organization does its job and adopts a science-based plan for this rare subspecies! Click to help!

Protect wolves from brutal hunting, trapping, and poisoning!
Help ensure continued protections for wolves across the lower-48 states! You can make a difference by writing to Obama administration officials to urge them not to drop federal protections for wolves across much of the United States.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed lifting federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across nearly the entire lower-48 states. This would be a disastrous setback for gray wolf recovery in the United States.

The recovery of gray wolves is an American success story, from their reintroduction in the northern Rocky Mountains to their comeback in the western Great Lakes states. But there are few, if any, gray wolves in the vast majority of their former range. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removes gray wolf federal protections, wolves in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains, and the Northeast will face even more difficult odds than they do already.

It is critical that the administration not proceed with a blanket national delisting of the gray wolf, when wolves are still missing across so much of the U.S. landscape.

Urge President Obama and Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to maintain protections for gray wolves in the lower-48 states. Click to help!

CRISIS: Red wolf extinction alert. The facts are clear and heartbreaking.

Unless something happens soon, the critically endangered red wolf will go extinct in the wild in a matter of years.

Only about 50 red wolves survive in the wild, all within five counties in northeastern North Carolina. 

URGENT: Please donate to save red wolves and the wildlife you love.

As you may know, these shy nocturnal predators once roamed from Pennsylvania to Florida. The red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980. In 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) reintroduced captive red wolves back into the wild in an effort to restore these predators.

But under constant pressure from a vocal minority, FWS has not followed through to make recovery possible. And now, wild red wolf numbers are plummeting.

Earlier this month, Defenders announced our withdrawal from the FWS-sponsored Red Wolf Recovery Team. The team was supposed to be the catalyst to spur red wolf recovery. But in reality, the team was not organized in a way that would allow it to succeed.

With your support, Defenders will keep up our efforts to save these iconic wolves. Your donations have enabled us to go to court multiple times to protect red wolves and ensure their recovery in the wild. Our field team is on the ground in red wolf country working with landowners, government officials and other stakeholders.

Won’t you donate today to help save red wolves and other wildlife you love?

This is a preventable extinction, and we mean to prevent it. With your help, we will.

Don’t Slaughter Last Remaining Wolves.

Target: Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon
Goal: Work to relist wolves as an endangered species in Oregon to protect them from extinction.
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission recently stripped endangered species protections from wolves in the state of Oregon. The decision was approved by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown. That delisting came over the vocal opposition of scientists and activists alike.
The Center for Biological Diversity notes that Oregon “ignor[ed] comments from 25 scientists” in removing protections from the wolves, while an activist speaking on behalf of Oregon Wild told Oregon Public Broadcasting that, “The state didn’t just ignore the best available science, they preferentially treated statements from scientists that supported their predetermined decisions over those that were critical.” Oregon’s biodiversity is too important to surrender to political expediency and flawed scientific review.
Despite scientific controversy over removing protections from Oregon’s wolves, wildlife commissioners in the state are blithe about their actions. One simply told Oregon Public Broadcasting, “I think the wolves in Oregon are going to be fine.” That statement comes when Oregon has a known population of 81 gray wolves and according to Oregon Public Broadcasting, “is years away” from maintaining “seven breeding pairs for three consecutive years.”
Moreover, the agricultural communities that make up most of the support for delisting wolves are not united in calling for the removal of endangered species protections. Ellen Marmon of Eugene Oregon, whose herds have suffered from predation by wolves, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that, far from supporting delisting, she has “watched in awe and wonder the return of wolves to this state.”
Tell Oregon Governor Kate Brown to listen to the voices of scientists and activists who value Oregon’s natural bounty. Sign on to tell Governor Brown to work to relist Oregon’s wolves.
Dear Governor Kate Brown,
Everyone makes mistakes. In the light of political clamor and agitation from agricultural interests to strip endangered species protections from Oregon’s wolves, it is understandable that you would acquiesce to the decision of your legislature and the Fish and Wildlife Commission. You, however, have the unusual opportunity to act with the benefit of hindsight to correct your error.
Listen to the voices of your state’s environmental activists. While wildlife commissioners may brush environmental concerns aside, telling the press, “the wolves in Oregon are going to be fine,” Oregon’s environmentalists are skeptical. Both The Center for Biological Diversity and Oregon Wild have serious concerns about the scientific evidence used to support delisting wolves.
As Oregon Wild told Oregon Public Broadcasting, “The state didn’t just ignore the best available science, they preferentially treated statements from scientists that supported their predetermined decisions over those that were critical.” Listen, too, to those in Oregon’s agricultural community who value their state’s natural resources.  Ellen Marmon of Eugene, Oregon, whose herds have suffered from predation by wolves, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that, far from supporting delisting, she has “watched in awe and wonder the return of wolves to this state.”
While you cannot act unilaterally to restore protections that the legislature removed, you can make a public push to defend Oregon’s wildlife. Use your influence, your persona, and your platform to turn back the serious threat to which you have exposed Oregon’s vulnerable gray wolf population.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Cacophony