Wyoming’s Embattled Wolves in Dire Need of Life-Saving Protections
Written by Frances Beinecke, President, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council)
It’s open season on wolves in Wyoming. Last summer, the Obama Administration stripped Wyoming’s wolves of their endangered species protection, leaving them at the mercy of a wolf “management” plan that allows gray wolves to be shot on sight across about 85 percent of the state. As of last month, anyone who sees a wolf anywhere across the vast majority of Wyoming can kill it—legally—with no questions asked. And what’s more, the plan has been endorsed by the Interior Department.
The science is clear: wolves are a native carnivore and they are critically important for healthy ecosystems. Even more important: Wyoming’s wolf population is crucial, genetically, to the long-term survival of wolves in the entire Greater Yellowstone region.
Yet the Interior Department has chosen to abandon sound science and authorize what is essentially a wolf-killing plan, peddled by special interests that hate wolves and want to see their numbers drastically reduced.
And it’s not just Wyoming. Wolves are under attack all across the Northern Rockies. Just one year after Congress took the unprecedented step of forcing wolves off the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana, a staggering 545 wolves were killed during the 2011-12 hunting season in those two states — making Wyoming’s wolves all the more critical to the future of wolves in Greater Yellowstone.
Allowing wolves to be slaughtered is unthinkable. They are central to the wildness and spirit of the American West. NRDC is heading to federal court to put an end to the killing and return Wyoming’s wolves to the endangered species list until the state puts forward a credible plan that will truly protect its wolves.
Take Action: Send a message to Interior Secretary Salazar and urge him to halt this senseless slaughter and put Wyoming’s wolves back on the path to a sustainable recovery.