I was very disappointed to see that the Fish and Wildlife Service has now proposed taking away critical Federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for all gray wolves in the lower 48 states.
I recently traveled to Yellowstone and was surprised by the large numbers of fellow tourists hoping and waiting for a wolf-sighting, which sadly did not happen, as the number of wolves even in this protected Federal park is so limited.
Removing Federal protections now would jeopardize 40 years of tax-payer funded recovery that has only just started. Numerous studies and polls show that Americans want wolves conserved, protected and humanely treated. In 2014, Michigan voters rejected two wolf-hunting laws by wide margins. In Wisconsin, 65% of residents in wolf areas wanted the number of wolves maintained or increased, and 79% of survey respondents in Minnesota said that they did not support hunting and trapping wolves in their state.
Wolves are important to the balance of our ecosystems, and drive economic growth. The Fish and Wildlife Service found that from 2011 through 2016, while expenditures on hunting declined 36% to $26 billion, spending on wildlife watching increased 28% to a staggering $76 billion. Without Federal protections, wolves face an onslaught of trophy hunting, trapping, poisoning, baiting and hunting. I encourage readers to please submit comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Federal Register (federalregister.gov, search “wolf”) urging ESA protections remain for wolves.