06 November 2015
Excerpts from Wildlife Weekly Wrap-UpWhite House Flooded with Calls in Support of Endangered Species
On Wednesday, the White House’s phone lines were ringing nonstop from thousands of activists taking part in a national call-in day to express concern over the 80+ attacks on the Endangered Species Act in Congress. Over a dozen of those proposals have been proposed or added as policy riders to the 2016 House and Senate bills funding the Department of the Interior and other federal agencies. And, with a Continuing Resolution funding the government set to expire on December 11, the White House will soon begin negotiating final 2016 spending legislation with Congress. We’re urging the Obama administration to reject any and all legislation that has these anti-wildlife amendments attached, and so are 25 senators who yesterday submitted a letter to the administration requesting the same thing. It’s clear that President Obama has strong support from a diverse array of senators and their constituents; all eyes are now on the President to ensure he keeps these damaging ESA riders out of final spending legislation.
It is too Soon to Remove State Endangered Species Protections for Oregon’s Wolves
On Monday, Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission will reconvene and make a decision about what level of protection is warranted as wolves continue to recover in the state. Unfortunately, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has already advised the commission to remove wolves from the state endangered species list. At Defenders, we think a delisting is incredibly premature. First, the state’s wolf management plan – the document that sets the guidelines for how wolves should be managed – is due to be updated. It makes no sense to delist wolves when there are not adequate regulations in place to ensure their full recovery post-delisting. Second, if wolves are delisted, much of Oregon’s emphasis on nonlethal methods for reducing livestock-wolf conflicts could be reduced, and wolves could pay a heavy toll through lethal control and illegal killing if livestock-wolf conflicts are not well managed. The bottom line? Delisting when only the bare minimum of requirements has been met is wrong. No other species has been removed from the state’s endangered species list with a population of fewer than 100 individuals statewide or when they were still absent from a significant portion of their range. We’re telling the commission that the more prudent alternative here is to downlist wolves from endangered to threatened instead of delisting them completely. Oregon has played a valuable role in the success story that is the recovery of the wolf in the American west; the state shouldn’t short-circuit the process now.
Melanie Gade, Communications SpecialistMelanie handles press coverage for wildlife in the Pacific Northwest and Rockies and Plains, as well as Defenders' national work on the Endangered Species Act.