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Lawsuit filed to stop wolf killings

Cross-posted on Reuters

30 days after the Bush Administration removed Yellowstone's Gray Wolves from the endangered list, a lawsuit has been filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council to stop the toll on the small population, now at 37 dead wolves and counting.
On the very day that these wolves lost their Endangered Species protection, a crippled wolf named "Limpy," one of the most photographed wolves in Yellowstone's famous Druid Peak pack, was shot to death when he ventured outside the park.

Another wolf was stalked for over 35 miles by snowmobile before being overtaken and shot. Another was found dead on the side of the highway, his still-warm body torn apart by bullets. And, tragically, at least four female wolves have been killed just prior to the denning season, which could doom some of the region's wolf pups.
The Gray Wolf was taken off the endangered list earlier this year, after repeated attempts by the Bush Administration to remove them from the list, despite their marginal population. The NRDC Action Fund has issued a press release (excerpt):

The restoration of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies is one of America's greatest environmental success stories. Wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone and the central Idaho wilderness in 1995 after being exterminated by settlers, trappers and the federal government. Since then, these new populations have increased to 1,500 or so animals. Wolves play a crucial role in the ecosystems of the Northern Rockies, helping to preserve riparian forests and maintain healthy populations of raptors and coyotes. They are also a boon to the region's economy, generating tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue each year.

But Rocky Mountain wolves are now in grave danger. In March 2008, the Bush Administration stripped gray wolves in Greater Yellowstone and across the Northern Rockies of endangered species protection. Earlier in the year, the administration issued a new rule allowing the slaughter of hundreds of these wolves. Entire packs of wolves could be gunned down from airplanes in minutes. In fact, the federal government has already spent our tax dollars to buy two planes for the purpose of aerial gunning.
The Bush Administration's move is supported by trophy hunters who wish to protect the elk population from the wolves so that they may hunt them instead and by ranchers who want to keep the wolves away from their herds.

A tragic outcome, as there are proven, non-violent methods to keep the wolves away from ranches, such as the ancient Turkish Akbash dog. This is a mastiff-sized white livestock guardian animal brought back to ranches around the world after it was discovered that predators would not approach herds where the dogs were in use.

The NRDC is seeking an injunction on these killings in federal court and is asking interested citizens to sign their petition to Congress to stop the wolf killings and poisonings, another assault on the wolves that has emerged in what begins to look like a free-for-all against this increasingly small population.

Recently, the Bush Administration stripped endangered species protection from gray wolves in Greater Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies. These wolves face a range of threats, including the use of two toxic chemicals in government-run predator control programs. Please ask your Representative to support HR 4775, a bill banning two deadly poisons that kill gray wolves and many other wildlife species.
The NRDC's Action Fund's petition is here.

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