A sad day for the grey wolf (and the Endangered Species Act)

I just received an email from the NRDC NRDC (www.nrdc.org), with the sad news that in a last-minute budget deal agreed to by the US Congress, the grey wolf will be stripped of its endangered species status across most of the Northern Rockies.

The grey wolf has been listed as an endangered species since 1973 (the last one in Yellowstone was shot dead in 1930). An ambitious program to reintroduce the species to the Northern Rockies, launched in 1995 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, has seen numbers rise to around 1300 in this area – a wonderful success story. However the loss of its endangered species status will leave the grey wolf at the mercy of states (Montana, Idaho) which plan to kill hundreds of them.

This ‘decision’ (though the use of this word implies some degree of intelligence in those doing the deciding, something which was clearly lacking here), a legacy of the Bush Administration, was made despite the fact that a US federal judge ruled just last year that any such move would not be legal, and despite tens of thousands of letters and emails from people who didn’t wish to see this happen. Yet it was approved by the leadership of both the House and the Senate, and it was okayed by the White House (yep, shame on you, Mr Obama). And it was allowed to ride through on the back of a last-minute budget deal.

To quote the NRDC:

‘It is a shameful day for the US when both parties unite behind the slaughter of an endangered species – without public hearing or debate. And there is another victim here as well: the Endangered Species Act). Congress has never before removed an animal from the endangered species list. By replacing scientific judgment with political calculation, the House and Senate have struck at the very heart of wildlife protection in America.’

See http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/awetzler/disgrace_gutting_the_esa_and_k.html for more details.

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