Today the Defenders of Wildlife (DOW) began a public campaign to call further attention to the devastation of wolf populations after delisting on May 5, 2011. Saturday is the one-year anniversary of the wolf delisting from endangered species protection in the Northern Rockies. So, how are things going? According to DOW, Idaho’s response has been to eliminate almost half their wolves. This action is being called a violation of public trust. When Department of the Interior Secretary, Salazar, brokered a deal with Congress last year to strip federal protections from wolves, he did so with assurances from Idaho officials that they would manage these animals at numbers between 518 and 732 wolves.
400 wolves killed
According to Jamie Rappaport Clark, DOW president: “Even before Congress handed wolf management back to the state, Governor Otter and his Idaho Fish and Game Commission broke that promise -- moving forward with a plan to manage wolves down to a minimum population of just 150.It is clear that as a result of delisting, Idaho is pursuing a race to the bottom in wolf management. In just one year, 400 wolves have been killed in the state -- and state officials have already moved forward on making it easier to kill even more wolves."
“In the past year, state officials have pursued some of the exact same short-sighted, predator control strategies from the 1800s that put wolves on the endangered species list in the first place. They’re treating wolves like vermin instead of managing them like valuable native wildlife. That’s not how Idaho manages other species like black bears and mountain lions, and it’s not a responsible way to manage wolves either.
“Meanwhile, the federal government is sitting idly by as Idaho almost singlehandedly unravels one of our nation’s greatest wildlife conservation success stories. This is totally unheard of—never before has a species climbed its way back from near extinction only to be quickly decimated once again. Americans deserve a better return on their investment after helping to restore wolves in the Northern Rockies"
Why are wolves important?
Wolves regulate game herds and reduce the prevalence of diseases, revitalizing riparian areas, reducing coyote densities, providing food for scavengers, and indirectly improving conditions for a host of other species. Wolves play an essential role in maintaining the ecological health and integrity of the landscape. Landscapes with historical and intact wolf populations show much healthier biodiversity of flora and fauna. Wolves have a right to exist.
DOW asks wolf advocates to send a message to Salazar
Most people would not know that wolves are being killed in violation of the public trust, even as other regions consider delisting. The DOW asks citizens to speak up if they seek to preserve wolf restoration in some of their ancient ranges as a conservation success stories. Those who share the DOW's concerns may use the DOW links and sample letter to send a message to the Department of the Interior to let Salazar know that wolves in the wild do matter.