For Immediate Release, August 3, 2011
Contact: Kierán Suckling, (520) 275-5960
Center for Biological Diversity Statement on Agreement to Strip Wolves in Wyoming of Federal Protections
TUCSON, Ariz.— Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, issued the following statement:
“Allowing the killing of approximately 200 wolves in Wyoming through transfer of authority from the federal to the state governments is a brutal and unnecessary concession to the wolves’ merciless enemies in Wyoming’s livestock and hunting-outfitter industries.
“Along with the killing of wolves that were recently delisted via congressional rider in Idaho and Montana, delisting and persecution of wolves in Wyoming bodes poorly for the species’ long-term survival throughout the northern Rocky Mountains. It will also inhibit recovery in Colorado, where wolves are only starting to return by way of Wyoming.
“Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s blithe reassurances that wolves will not decline toward extinction cannot be counted on, because the House of Representatives has approved another rider to insulate this upcoming delisting from judicial review. We ask the Senate to strike that rider from the Interior funding bill.”
“If killing two-thirds of Wyoming’s non-park-inhabiting wolves truly will not threaten them with extinction, there is no need to pass a rider that would permit this delisting to evade the Endangered Species Act’s science-based standards.”
The Obama administration Wednesday announced finalization of an agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, whereby the wildlife agency would remove wolves in Wyoming from the federal endangered species list, and the state would only be required to keep alive 100 wolves or ten breeding pairs outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks (which together provide habitat for a few dozen wolves that would remain protected while in the parks).
Approximately 300 wolves are thought to live outside the national parks in Wyoming. The agreement will allow their unregulated killing throughout most of the state, excluding the northwestern corner, where hunting permits for wolves will be issued; the boundaries of that northwestern region will shift slightly on a seasonal basis to allow wolves to migrate in and out of the parks, although there is no science indicating that permitted hunting instead of unrestricted killing on a seasonal basis will in fact facilitate genetic exchange between Yellowstone wolves and those in Idaho.
Most wolf killing will probably take place via federal aerial gunning of radio-collared wolves, always preceded by the shooting of their uncollared family members.