For immediate release
March 6, 2019
Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project (307) 399-7910
DENVER, Colo. — David Bernhardt today announced the Department of Interior’s plans to delist wolves from the Endangered Species Act throughout the lower 48 states. The move comes despite the species being a long way from full recovery across much of their range. Wolf populations are struggling to achieve population viability minimums in Oregon, California, Washington, and remain extirpated or nearly so in Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.
“From the Grand Canyon to the Colorado Rockies to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, there are vast areas of public land that offer habitat ideally suited to wolves, and yet the howl of the wolf is absent from these parts of its native range,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project. “To strip away federal protections now is to ensure that the howl will remain forever missing.”
The move to delist wolves has long been a priority of the livestock industry, which sees the native predators as a threat to their profitability on vast public lands in western states. Rather than monitor the livestock herds and use non-lethal methods to protect against threats, the industry relies on the destruction of native predators through subsidized wildlife killing programs that target wolves, coyotes, bears and mountain lions. The absence of these predators affects the distribution of native prey species, which has cascading adverse effects on ecosystem health.
“The livestock industry has long been bent on killing as many wolves as they can and creating a domesticated landscape safe for their docile and dim-witted animals,” said Molvar. “The absence of wolves across much of the West is in part responsible for wildlife diseases like chronic wasting disease and ecological imbalances we see today. We’re destroying the natural balance so that ranchers don’t have to keep an eye on their cows when they graze on public lands.”