Given our recent discussions about ESA, I thought this article here by Bob Berwyn was very interesting.
Federal wildlife agencies are under intense pressure from states to turn over wolf management. Congress has already set the stage for political interference in the wolf recovery process, and that step has put the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service at the edge of a very slippery slope. Any proposal to de-list wolves is likely to face significant opposition and legal challenges from conservation advocates.
Congress has “set the stage” for “political interference”? But isn’t when and where species should be managed open for public (“political”) discussion? Didn’t Congress, in fact, determine what is in ESA?
Here’s a quote from the scientists’ letter..
“The gray wolf has barely begun to recover or is absent from significant portions of its former range where substantial suitable habitat remains. The Service’s draft rule fails to consider science identifying extensive suitable habitat in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains and the Northeast. It also fails to consider the importance of these areas to the long-term survival and recovery of wolves, or the importance of wolves to the ecosystems of these regions.”
So it sounds like the scientists (which I’m not sure tracks with the ESA legislation) think recovery means they need to go back everywhere there’s “suitable habitat”. I would argue that the “ecosystem” I live in seems to be doing OK without wolves.. and who would judge that? Since ecosystems are a human idea imposed on the planet, I guess it’s up to anyone to argue one way or another and I would think wolf biologists might not be the folks to ask about how an “ecosystem” is doing. And it also seems like they if they are not everywhere, in the long-term wolves cannot survive. I don’t know what the rationale is for that but if they are doing fine, and expanding their ranges now… I just don’t get why designating suitable habitat everywhere is necessary..
Here’s a quote from a previous post here:
With Endangered Species Act protection, states like Oregon and Washington could decide they don’t want any wolves at all. Utah, Colorado, and California and Northeastern states could decide never to pursue wolf restoration, foreclosing the possibility of recovery in large parts of gray wolves’ historic range.
“The Obama administration is giving up on gray wolf recovery before the job is done. How can they declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ when gray wolves still face significant threats throughout their range,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife and a former Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Wolves in the Pacific Northwest have only just begun to recover, and there are no wolf populations in Utah and Colorado. Places like the Olympic peninsula in Washington state and the Colorado Rockies would benefit both ecologically and economically from the return of wolves. We shouldn’t be closing the door on an incredible opportunity to revitalize some of America’s best remaining suitable wolf habitat by bringing back these important iconic animals,” she said.
“Gray wolves once ranged in a continuous population from Canada all the way down to Mexico, and we shouldn’t give up on this vision until they are restored … But now, politics has been allowed to trump sound science, and the future recovery of America’s wolves is being tossed up in the air once again. It is truly sad that the Obama administration has chosen this path and short-circuited what could and should have been a tremendous conservation success for our nation,” she concluded.
Wow! “Science” tells us that wolves and grizzlies have to be reintroduced everywhere they used to be? Doesn’t sound like a science question to me..sounds to me like plain old preference and values, which generally tends to be mediated through.. our elected officials.