Animal Emotions

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Wolves in the crosshairs once again: Politicians attempt to sidestep the Endangered Species Act

Attempts to fast track delisting wolves crosses party lines and ignores science

Once again Northern Rocky Mountain wolves find themselves the hapless target of ranchers and politicians, including Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who ignore science and the need to place these magnificent animals back on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This latest essay about the plight of wolves begins with a hunter shamelessly calling in a female wolf using his hunter's call resembling a coyote in distress, who he then dispassionately shoots and kills. To quote this brave man: "'You don't have a lot of time to think,'" says [Robert] Millage, an estate agent in Kamiah, Idaho. ... 'She went down in her in her tracks ...'" As is often the case when media wants to attract attention to a non-problem, and make a mountain out of a molehill, they resort to sensationalism and hype. 

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Legislators who favor the delisting want to fast track the process by sidestepping the ESA. According to the essay in Nature, "The attempts to remove the wolf a second time come in response to an August 2010 federal court ruling that stated that Northern Rocky Mountain wolves should go back on the endangered species list. The US Fish and Wildlife Service had delisted wolves in all states except Wyoming, which had promised to allow its residents to shoot the canids on sight rather than in a regulated hunting season as in the other states. But the judge said the act had to be applied to the population as a whole, without making exceptions for some states." This decision was not a very popular one.

As depressing as this pending move is, we're also told that the ESA is "not a big priority" for the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Republican Richard "Doc" Hastings.

You know what to do - contact your legislators and tell them to stop this nonsense once and for all. 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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