26 February 2016
A bill that legislatively delists Oregon’s wolves from the state endangered species act passed significant benchmarks in Oregon’s legislature this week, opening the door for the state legislature to make politically driven decisions about the fate of imperiled animals across the state. If the bill is approved by the full senate, it will then go to Governor Brown to be either vetoed or signed into law. Oregon’s Endangered Species Act grants the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission exclusive authority to list, delist or relist species as threatened or endangered. This bill would change that by giving Oregon’s lawmakers and politicians final say over the wolf’s status under state law instead of leaving that scientific question to scientists! Of you live in Oregon, help us by calling Governor Brown, telling her that she should veto this bill when/if it reaches her desk. Important decisions about whether to list or delist species should be based on science, not politics!
Today the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 2406, the so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015.” This damaging legislation contains a broad range of destructive provisions that threaten wildlife and public lands, erode bedrock environmental laws and undermine key conservation policies. Entire sections of the bill impair wildlife conservation, including sections that block efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to crack down on the illegal ivory trade, upend management of our National Wildlife Refuge System, and prohibit federal agencies from regulating toxic lead in most forms of ammunition and fishing tackle. The likely addition of harmful amendments to H.R. 2406, including an amendment that would strip gray wolves of existing protection under the Endangered Species Act in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming, will make it an even bigger disaster for wildlife. We send a big thank you to all of our supporters who called their Representatives, demanding they oppose this lethal legislation and all anti-wildlife amendments to the bill. There are significant legislative steps that must be taken before this bill succeeds, and we will be working with the Senate and the President to block this type of extreme legislation from becoming law.
On Monday, Defenders of Wildlife Southeast Program Director Ben Prater made the trek from Asheville, North Carolina to Washington to visit our DC office and sit on a panel following the incredible new short film, “Red Wolf Revival.” It’s a must see for anyone interested in learning more about the plight these imperiled wolves face! The film explores the history of the Red Wolf Recovery Program in North Carolina and the uncertain future of the red wolf, of which only 45 individuals remain in the wild. Ben answered questions from audience members and discussed the challenges these wolves face – namely, that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reduced many program activities that were crucial to this species’ survival, including coyote sterilization and release of captive-bred wolves to increase the wild population.
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.