Biting the Hand That Feeds Us

Today's Casper Star Tribune reports that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is about to release a study (known as an "Environmental Assessment") on its proposal to allow Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana more freedom to kill wolves in the Northern Rockies.  The proposal would allow the states to kill up to 700 out of the current population of roughly 1300 wolves. This, needless to say, is a very bad idea. 

Wolves are a crucial part of maintaining the health and stability of the Northern Rockies ecosystem.  Reintroducing wolves to the Yellowstone a little more than a decade ago area has reinvigorated willow and aspen groves that run along streams, and has led to much healthier populations of raptors and small rodents.  And elk populations--wolves principle prey--remain at record highs in many parts of the Northern Rockies. Giving these states--especially Wyoming and Idaho--greater latitude to kill wolves is a classic case of letting the fox guard the henhouse. It's the governors of Wyoming and Idaho, after all, who have questioned "whether any packs outside Yellowstone in Wyoming are even necessary" and are looking forward to claiming "that first ticket to shoot a wolf myself."

NRDC, along with the NRDC Action FundEarthjustice and other groups, are already fighting the Bush Administration's plan to strip wolves of federal protections--an effort led by our field office in Bozeman, Montana.  We've filed extensive technical comments with federal agencies, intervened in court cases, and have generated hundreds of thousands of comments by NRDC and NRDC Action Fund members and activists supporting continued protection of these wonderful, important, and spell-binding creatures.  If you want to help, visit the NRDC Action Fund and take action here.

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