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Our worst nightmare is now a reality. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has formally proposed to remove all Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for nearly all gray wolves across the United States.
If this proposal becomes final, delisting will prematurely turn wolf management over to the states, and we've already seen what can happen when rabid anti-wolf politics are allowed to trump science and core wildlife management principles.
More than 1,100 wolves have already been killed in the Northern Rockies since Congress took ESA protections away from them in 2011.
Please send an urgent message to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell — demand that she provide oversight during the official review period and urge her to re-think the official proposal before it becomes final.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
I'm writing to you today to demand that the federal government not prematurely strip Endangered Species Act protections from most gray wolves in the United States.
The restoration of wolves has been hailed as one of the biggest successes of the Endangered Species Act since it was passed in 1973. But the important work of wolf recovery is unfinished. Delisting the gray wolf will halt four decades of progress in its tracks and expose America's wolves to unwarranted and unsustainable killing.
This is precisely what has happened in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, where the premature delisting of those states' wolf populations has led to the killing of more than 1,100 wolves. This race to the bottom in wolf management threatens to seriously undermine wolves' hard-won climb from the brink of extinction.
Delisting could also derail efforts to restore wolves to more of their historic range that has huge areas of suitable wolf habitat, including Colorado, the Pacific Northwest, Utah and California.
Wolves are an iconic, native species that play a vital role in restoring healthy ecosystems by keeping prey species in balance. Places like the Olympic peninsula and the Colorado Rockies could benefit both ecologically and economically from the return of wolves.
Delisting would close the door on an historic opportunity to revitalize some of America's best remaining wildlife habitat by bringing back these important animals.
Someday, when wolves have recovered throughout most of their historic range, and when states refrain from managing their wolf populations in a politically driven race to the bottom then perhaps delisting is an option worth debating. However, we are far from that day, and delisting now would be an avoidable conservation nightmare.
We urge you in the strongest possible terms to not turn the clock back on one of America's signature wildlife conservation success stories. The future of full wolf recovery is in your hands.