Two bills recently introduced seek to overturn reinstatement of protections for wolves. Both H.R. 843 (Kline, MN) and H.R. 884 (Ribble, WI), could, if passed, seriously weaken the Endangered Species Act by setting a precedent for exempting species from ESA protections. HR 843, HR 884, and other similar policies to statutorily delist the gray wolf, both jeopardize wolf recovery and undermine the ESA, one of our most effective, popular and important environmental laws. Retaining basic federal protections for wolves will assure that decades of work, research and tax dollars invested in recovering this important species are not lost. While wolf numbers have improved since Endangered status protections were put in place, wolf populations remain vulnerable to hostile management policies, disease, illegal killing and loss of habitat.
The December 2014 decision to return federal protections to gray wolves in the Great Lakes halted aggressive and hostile state management policies in process of reducing wolf populations through recreational hunting and trapping: over 1,500 wolves were killed for recreation and trophies in the Great Lakes states alone since 2012. This total does not reflect the hundreds of wolves removed by USDA Wildlife Services and State agencies, or illegal kills. Moreover, Wisconsin State Management policy was actively reducing its stabilizing wolf population, about 880 wolves in 2012, to a population of 350 or less, largely in response to hunting interests.