50 Renowned Scientists Send Letter To Congress Urging “LEAVE WOLVES ALONE”

Wolf Puppy Wayne Pacelle Stock Photo

“Increasingly, Americans recognize the wide range of economic and ecological benefits that wolves bring.Photo: Stockphoto”


Pack of Scientists Urges Congress to Leave Wolves, ESA Alone

February 18, 2015

A Humane Nation

Wayne Pacele’s Blog

Today, more than 50 world-renowned wildlife biologists and scientists, many of whom have devoted their entire professional careers toward understanding the social and biological issues surrounding wolves in North America, sent a letter to Congress urging members to oppose any efforts to strip federal protections for wolves in the contiguous 48 states. If Congress were to take this adverse action, according to these scientists, it would upend two recent federal court rulings, which criticized the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for distorting the “plain meaning” of the standards of the Endangered Species Act and admonished several state wildlife agencies for conducting overreaching and dangerous trophy hunting and trapping programs upon federal delisting.

The scientists, including Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich of Michigan Technological University, and Adrian Treves of University of Wisconsin, Madison, noted that “wolves are absent from most of the United States, with potentially secure populations in only a handful of states (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan). Yet, in those same states, the loss of federal protections resulted in state-sanctioned seasons on wolves at levels designed to reduce their populations to arbitrary goals, which were based on politics but not the best available science.”

Rather than removing wolves’ protections completely, there is a better way forward. A federal downlisting to “threatened” would be a far superior option, allowing “lethal management to resolve wolf-livestock conflicts.” Last month, The HSUS and 21 animal protection and conservation organizations petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reclassify gray wolves as “threatened” throughout their U.S. range south of Alaska (except the distinct Mexican gray wolf subspecies in the southwest which should remain listed as endangered). It’s the right compromise that balances the national interest in protecting wolves, while providing tools to federal and state agencies to allow selective control of wolves to address livestock and property damage.

This past fall, Michigan voted overwhelmingly against the notion of a trophy hunting season on wolves – in the first ever statewide votes on the issue of wolf hunting. Those votes – in a state with major hunting and agriculture industries – are additional indicators that increasing numbers of Americans recognize the wide range of economic and ecological benefits that wolves bring. More than 14 million people have viewed the documentary, How Wolves Change Rivers, showing how wolves move sedentary deer and elk populations so they don’t overgraze or browse. Wolves remove sick and weak animals, preventing slow starvation, and limiting deer-auto collisions and deer depredation on crops. By modulating prey herds, wolves act as a sort of barrier to chronic wasting disease and other infections that could cost the states millions of dollars to eradicate and in lost hunting license sales. And each year, thousands of wildlife watchers gaze at the world’s most-viewed wolves in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone, bringing in $35 million to the Yellowstone region annually. In the Great Lakes region, the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, brings in as much as $3 million each year from wolf watchers.

Lawmakers should respond to common sense, sound economics, and robust science. We’ve had enough of fairy tales and fabrications and trumped-up public safety charges against wolves. The reality is, they are hugely important in restoring the health of ecosystems and increasing the diversity of species. Wolves have their place, and with only about 5,000 of them in the lower 48 states, they should continue to receive federal protection.



Photo: Courtesy HSUS

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Endangered Species Act, gray wolf

Tags: 50 renowned scientists, biodiversity, wolves benefit ecosystem, wolf recovery, wolf persecution, Congressional overreach, weakening the ESA, HSUS

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] 50 Renowned Scientists Send Letter To Congress Urging “LEAVE WOLVES ALONE”. […]


  2. Please, listen to the scientists. We need the wolves not only because they are a beautiful, magnificent being, but because they are the Guardians of our Eco system. Without them the world would be brown, riverbeds dry, overgrazed land…and the list goes on. Because of them there are green pastures, flowing rivers and….life!! They keep herds moving so grass has a chance to regrow, trees don’t die off because of over browsing, which in turn give homes to many species of birds. If you look at each and every wonderful aspect of nature, nature that is thriving…there just might be a being of God at work.


  3. This is a great statement of solidarity and sends a really strong message to opponents.


  4. I’m not sure how to answer the poll – whichever designation gives them the most protection from us. Delisting has been an epic, cruel failure. Those idiots in Washington!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My heart and gut says no – and everybody else does too!


    • ida, I feel the same way.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  5. We can only pray that congress gets the message, but with so many lobbyist for the cattle industry I doubt they will listen.


    • It’s not the Cattle industry – OK it is, but they are being taken for fools because the real threat comes from the oil companies, like (and specifically) the Koch Brothers who want to remove any and all barriers to mining the west for oil shale – just as soon as the Dakota wells dry up – which won’t be all that long. Want to guess which side oil will be on when cattle get in the way of the oil companies?

      ps. take a Google Earth search for Fort McMurray, Alberta. The gray patches 10 to 40 miles north of that are all the tailing ponds and open pit mines. Each year they grow because oil sands/shale extraction technology is still in its infancy.

      Now take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_sands for how big they could be, and finally, take a look at http://www.eia.gov/state/maps.cfm?v=Fossil%20Fuel%20Resources to see where the petroleum resources are.

      You might notice that there are a lot in the west where the human population is low. There is talk of a trillion barrels of oil just laying around in the ground waiting for the US to exploit it.

      The worst part is that there is no way to avoid it. My power company is adding an extra charge to my electric bill because my solar panels mean that I don’t buy enough electricity from the petroleum/coal based system to maintain the infrastructure.
      So you see, getting rid of the wolves is just a minor first step to converting the whole world into an economic resource.

      Too bad there are wolves in the way. Too bad that the oceans will rise a dozen feet by the end of the century if we do use it all. Too bad nobody is going to be better off except for the rich who will still not give a hoot. It’s just too darn bad.

      Are you mad yet? You should be.


  6. To hell with downlisting, killing wolves won’t solve the problem – it makes things worse. I can’t believe this nonsense, this is just going to lead to another delisting because there is no compromise in this when it comes to livestock interests. USFWS wants wolves delisted, the state governments want their wolf hunts back and they have proven that they are willing to sink to very low levels to get what they want.


    • john d….why is it wolf advocates always have to compromise when the other side offers NOTHING? It makes us look weak. I can understand what they’re trying to do, save wolves from organized hunts but the haters are not to be reasoned with…they want to kill wolves anyway they can. Wolves are not a threat to ranching or farmers. We all know the statistics on non-predation, wolves are on par with vultures in livestock losses. The main predator of cattle are coyotes and dogs. But facts don’t matter when it comes to wolves,

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • If they are downlisted, pretty soon after you’re going to get the push for more ‘flexibility’ to ‘manage’ wolves.


  7. I really, really, really hope that Congress will actually listen to the scientists this time! But I doubt that that will ever happen, cause we all know that politicians are so much more knowledgeable about wolves than the wolf biologists that actually study the species, right? (major sarcasm here)

    If I get the time to I will write a letter to the Congress representatives pleading that they listen to the biologists; it’s worth a try, and I think that we should all do the same.

    And as for the poll question… I know I’m probably in the minority here but I actually think that downlisting the Northern Gray Wolf would not be a bad idea; after all it would still be protected under the ESA. But feel free to respectfully disagree.


  8. Read an article on PEER’s website yesterday on how the memorandum requiring scientific integrity for all agencies under the purview of the Interior department had been ‘softened’ so thoroughly that rigorous attention to research and empirical data is rendered virtually useless…

    Sad, isn’t it, that even letters of protest from the scientific community and a concerned Congress can’t get these asshats to perform in an ethical manner.

    A few years back, a similar letter was drafted and sent to various heads of Interior by Congress concerned about the issues surrounding wild horses and burros; haven’t heard a damn thing about it since.

    We, as advocates for wildlife, rely heavily on science for our own research, to find real answers to the flaccid b.s. that is allowed to pass for ‘science’.

    It’s maddening, isn’t it, that we seem to be the only ones playing by the rules.


  9. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  10. No down listing! I don’t trust the states, and I’m sick and tired of all of the compromising!

    Like Nabeki said, wolves are not a threat to livestock. Supporting down listing would be agreeing with all of the haters that wolves ARE a threat, which just isn’t true.

    Why can’t these mainstream environmental and animal rights groups just stand up to the ranchers and say:

    “You’re all full of sh*t when you say that wolves are a threat to your livestock. All of the data proves otherwise. Either learn to co-exist with native wild wolves or find another way to make a living.”

    Boy, would I love to hear that! I won’t hold my breath waiting for it, though.


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