These beautiful creatures, some of the few remaining truly wild animals in our country, are in danger of being removed from federal protection. Prior to becoming endangered, scientists estimate that nearly 2 million wolves lived across wild North America. Due to a combination of human settlement, a federal extermination program, and bounty hunting, wolves became wiped out in the United States except for a section of Minnesota and Royal Isle National Park. Fortunately, in 1973, wolves became protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The reason it is so critical to protect these “apex” or top of the food chain predators is because without them keeping their native prey of deer and elk in check, a cascading effect ripples down the whole ecosystem. If the elk population becomes too big, then the elk (the plant eaters) over eat the plants, which means those who also depend on the plants (like birds or beavers) also become affected. A stable wolf population equals more balance in the ecosystem, which yields a healthier and biodiverse Mother Earth. “Not only are wolves a part of the natural heritage of this country, they are a species that is absolutely critical for a healthy wild Nature. Our treatment of wolves in this country runs counter to science and is inhumane.” said Amaroq Weiss, a biologist and former attorney who works as the West Coast Wolf Organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Federal protection has helped wolves rebuild and strengthen their population and range, yet full recovery remains incomplete. Today only 5,000-6,000 wolves inhabit about 5 percent of their historic range. Federal government protection has been removed in two key recovery areas and the Obama administration proposes to lift these federal protections across the majority of the continental United States. In the states where federal protection has already been removed, state wildlife agencies have initiated aggressive hunting and trapping seasons meant to reduce wolf populations to the bare minimum.
Wolves from Yellowstone National Park have been killed right outside the Park’s border due to this hunting and trapping. Just this past December, the state of Idaho allowed a private group to hold a wolf and coyote-hunting derby for cash prizes, and if that wasn’t cruel enough, the state subsequently hired a bounty hunter to exterminate two entire wolf packs in a remote wilderness area. Brutality against wolves is getting out of hand. Join me in taking action to demand the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho agency heads, commissioners, and elected officials cease the inhumane hunt. Similarly, sign a petition demonstrating your support to keep the gray wolf a federally protected species, for the benefit of Mother Earth and generations to come.