Trump Admin Removes Protections From Gray Wolves Over Scientists' Objections

The Trump administration has announced that it will remove the gray wolf from the list of protected animals. The gray wolf has been protected for the past 45 years since the wolves faced near-extinction. The administration claims that the gray wolf has successfully recovered and no longer requires protective status. However, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Defenders of Wildlife disagree and plan to sue the government.

The new ruling is expected to devastate the wolf population.

Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society, said in a statement:

"If states begin to open trophy hunting seasons on wolves, we don’t have to guess how bad the carnage is likely to get; we have already witnessed it in the handful of states where wolves have been delisted over the past decade."

Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone Park.

FWS | Gary Kramer

Gray wolves in the US were brought back from near-extinction by reintroducing Canadian wolves. In 1995, eight gray wolves from Canada were relocated to Yellowstone National Park. The wolves played an important role in the ecosystem of Yellowstone park. Their introduction helped to restore the park.

Today, there are 6,000 wolves in the US.

Flickr | doublejwebers

Despite the gains to the wolf population, they are still functionally extinct in much of their range. In some areas, such as Northern California, the wolves are not quite established. For these reasons, many wolf experts oppose the government's decision. One hundred scientists have written a letter formally opposing the ruling.

Declaring that wolves have recovered is premature, experts say.

Flickr | Derek Bakken

Kristen Boyles, an attorney for Earthjustice, said that wolf recovery is not "Mission Accomplished". Listing wolves as protected has saved them from hunters. But when that status is removed, their populations decline. This leads to a yo-yo between listing and delisting wolves as protected animals. Ultimately, we require a solution that balances a sustainable wolf population and meets social and livestock concerns.

h/t: CBS News

Filed Under: