Photo credit: Sierra Club
During this lame duck congressional session or in the next Congress, we are expecting a battle over the gray wolf and its listing as an endangered species.
Wolves are being unjustly blamed for killing too many elk in the western U.S. The numbers, however, don't support this. In Montana, Idaho and Wyoming elk numbers have actually increased 18 percent since wolf reintroduction.Wolves are also unjustly blamed for livestock deaths, when they aren't even among the leading causes of losses. Weather, disease and even dogs kill far more livestock than wolves do.
Because of this misleading information, some in Congress are pushing to have the Gray Wolf delisted from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is not the role of Congress to decide which species should receive protection and which shouldn't. In fact, Congress has never successfully legislated a species-specific decision under the ESA. Wolves should not be the first.
The ESA is one of our most cherished and respected environmental laws. Its power lies in the independent, scientific consultation at its heart.
Congress should play no role in determining whether or not wolves should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. That is a decision that should be made by independent science. To legislate such a decision would weaken the Act and set a dangerous precedent that could lead to more native fish, wildlife, and plants being wrongly stripped of necessary scientific protection.
If this goes into a legislative fight next year, it will be likely be the worst hit the ESA has taken under any administration, Republican or Democratic.
Read more about gray wolves:
1/4 of Rocky Gray Wolves Killed in First Hunting Season in Decades
No Longer Endangered, Gray Wolves to be Hunted by the Hundreds
Gray Wolves Are Back on the Endangered List... For Now