For Immediate Release, September 30, 2013
Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121
Hundreds to Rally in Nation's Capital for Continued Gray Wolf Protections
Rally and Public Hearing at Interior Department Will Focus on Controversial Proposal to
Remove Protections for Gray Wolves in 42 States
WASHINGTON— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a public hearing at 6.p.m. today at Interior Department headquarters to receive public feedback on its proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves. Prior to the hearing, beginning at 3:45 p.m., a pro-wolf rally will be held across the street from the Department to show public support for continued protection of gray wolves. The two-hour public hearing will be held in the Interior Department’s main auditorium.
“The American people overwhelmingly support continued protection for wolves. Many attending today’s hearing travelled great distances to tell the Fish and Wildlife Service to abandon the misguided proposal to prematurely remove protections for wolves,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service is walking away from recovery even though wolves occupy just a fraction of their former range and face continued persecution,” said Hartl, who will testify at the hearing and be available to the media.
The proposal, which will remove federal protections for wolves in 42 states, has been extensively criticized by the scientific community. These criticisms focus on the fact that wolves remain absent or have only just begun to recover across large areas of suitable habitat in the southern Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, California and the Northeast.
“Large swaths of the American landscape would benefit from the presence of these top carnivores,” said Hartl. “Since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park research has shown they benefit a host of other animals, including foxes, beavers and songbirds. They also regulate elk and deer populations, which makes streamside vegetation healthier.”
Monday’s hearing is one of only three public hearings being held to discuss the Service’s proposal, with the other two being held in Sacramento, Calif. on Oct. 2 and Albuquerque, N.M. on Oct. 4. No hearings will be held in Colorado or New England, where some of the largest areas of suitable, unoccupied wolf habitat exists.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 625,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places