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For Immediate Release, January 29, 2007

Contact: Michael Robinson, (505) 313-7017

Feds Propose to Remove Endangered Species Act Protection From Wolves

Will Legalize Mass Killings in Rocky Mountains

SILVER CITY, N.M.- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it would soon propose removing gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains from the list of endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act (as well as finalize the wolf’s delisting in the Midwest). The measure, if enacted, would end in the mass killing of wolves—imperiled animals driven to the brink of extinction in the past by government slaughters.

But the delisting is both illegal and unsupported by science, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Center wolf expert Michael Robinson predicted the measure would meet the same fate as the last proposal to delist wolves, in April 1, 2003, which two federal district courts, in Oregon and Vermont, declared illegal. “History is repeating itself, and it’s ugly,” said Robinson. “The Fish and Wildlife Service clearly hasn’t learned from its mistakes.”

The Center for Biological Diversity was a plaintiff in the first of those court cases, issued two years ago on January 31, 2005.

As with the last attempt at wolf delisting, the majority of the regions where the Service wants to declare wolves “recovered” contain no wolves at all. And a vast number of the animals would be killed if Endangered Species Act protections were lifted—not through permitted hunting and trapping alone, but also through ruthlessly efficient federal “predator control” that involves mowing down entire wolf packs as they flee from helicopters.

Wolf delisting would result in the lifting of current restrictions on federal and private use of poisons like M-44 sodium cyanide devices (which now officially target coyotes). Once gray wolves, grizzly bears and bald eagles are all delisted in the northern Rockies small, gulp-sized baits of strychnine and Compound 1080 would become legal again. The Fish and Wildlife Service is working on delisting all three endangered species.

Removing protections for the wolf would reduce the current population in the northern Rockies—almost 1,300 animals—by at least half. Northern Rockies wolves are already genetically fragmented: Wolves from Idaho almost never make it to Yellowstone and succeed in producing pups. The drastic kill-off would constitute a death knell not only for individuals and families, but for the species.

“Delisting wolves over vast areas to allow the livestock industry and its patrons in government to massacre wolves is blatantly illegal,” said Robinson. “These beautiful, intelligent animals should be given the chance to survive.”

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