Wolves in Danger of Being Delisted Again

Various lawmakers, from multiple states, are again introducing bills in both the House and the Senate suggesting that the government remove Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves, allowing individual states to manage the wolves within their borders.  (See the text of one of the bills, H.R. 509, here.)  As we have seen in previous years, management of wolves by the states rather than the federal government generally means the states immediately setting up an open hunting season on wolves on the grounds that the animals are menacing livestock or throwing off the local ecosystem by decimating herds of big game herbivores.

The proposal of bills does not mean that they will immediately be signed into law (witness a similar proposal by an Alaskan senator proposing the delisting of the polar bear, which is highly unlikely to pass), but it is a sign that wolf and wildlife supporters need to continue to speak up and make their wishes heard.  The passage of any one of these bills could set a dangerous precedent in which lawmakers would have only to amend the ESA in order to remove animal species they found “inconvenient to protect”.

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