After the last few depressing posts I’ve written about endangered species and the world falling apart beneath our touch, I am happy to write something a bit more uplifting and sunshine-y.
Last week, a federal judge ruled that Wyoming wolves must be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). They had been protected under the ESA until some unsavory, weak-minded people screwed up Wyoming’s wolf management plan, delisting them.
For two long, frustrating years, US Fish and Wildlife obliterated federal protections across most of the state of Wyoming and allowed for wolves and their pups to be shot, trapped, and gassed.
As a result, 219 wolves were killed, including wolves that crossed the border of Yellowstone National Park into Wyoming’s jurisdiction. Wolves that were wearing radio collars.
Wildlife conservation groups including Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club filed a lawsuit claiming that the delisting violated the terms of the ESA. They were represented by counsel from Earthjustice–pro bono–because of the shared belief that decisions for wildlife and wild places should be based on law and science, not politics. Not big business.
On a related note, I’d like to add more to the hurrah. Over 71,000 people signed a petition and submitted comments to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase protections and territory for the endangered Mexican gray wolf, of which there are fewer than 90 in the wild.
In a recent post, I shared with you a letter I wrote to an editor of a NM newspaper concerning this very issue. Knowing that over 71,000 people stood up for Mexican wolves is beyond outstanding, beyond remarkable. This kind of reaction proves to the government that there is major public support for lobo recovery.
“We’ve got to let wolves roam, find the best habitat with their own noses and paws — and frankly, we’ve got to stop the slaughter of wolves by both government and private citizens,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.
The next few months will be a crucial time for Mexican wolves as we await the USFWS to reconsider the terms of their proposal and revise the current ruling.
I have done a lot of tweeting and chattering and harassing my Facebook and Twitter friends about the wolves. (Well, I’ve bugged friends about a lot of endangered animals, but let’s just stick with the wolf issue for now.) Many of my blogging pals are my friends on other social media outlets, where you’ve likely seen my rants and pleas for attention to issues close to my heart.
I know that most of you had no clue about the wolf situation until I started yakking about it, and you all have been gracious and patient with me. You showed interest and were supportive of my passion. Thank you for reading my posts and for adding your thoughts to the controversy surrounding wolves.
If any of you had gone to the trouble to sign petitions that I urged you to sign, to submit comments or write emails to top decision-makers, if you retweeted a tweet, shared a FB post, reblogged my posts, talked about it with a friend, donated money, or did anything at all to spread wolf love, you are on my A list.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.