Walden applauds move, says wolves across Oregon will be managed by state
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — The Trump administration has removed gray wolves in most of the U.S. from the endangered species list.
Thursday’s action ends longstanding federal safeguards for the predators in the Lower 48 states, except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest.
The announcement just days ahead of the election could allow hunting of the animals to resume in Great Lakes states -- a battleground region in the presidential race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Gray wolves have recovered from near-extinction in parts of the country but remain absent from much of their historical range.
Biologists who reviewed the administration’s plan to strip protection from wolves say it lacked scientific justification.
News release from Rep. Greg Walden:
Greg Walden Applauds Delisting of the Gray Wolf
WASHINGTON -- Today, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement after the U.S. Department of Interior announced the official delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List based on clear evidence that the wolves’ numbers are healthy and stable following decades of successful protection.
This change will provide much-needed relief for ranchers by enabling them to prevent livestock from being targeted by wolf packs. Today’s announcement comes shortly after Walden personally called the Office of Management and Budget to urge that the rule be finalized.
“Oregon’s wolf population grew over 15 percent last year, and meanwhile, wolves continue to kill livestock in the area under federal management, with little recourse for local ranchers," Walden said. "Today’s action by the Trump Administration to officially delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List is long overdue. This move will allow our state wildlife officials to manage the wolves more effectively by allowing for a single management plan under local control.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recognized the recovery of the gray wolf and first proposed delisting it in 2013 under the Obama Administration, but litigation by outside groups brought the process to a crawl.
Walden has been a longtime advocate for returning authority for protecting and managing gray wolves to individual states. In 2016, the House passed Walden's plan to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list.
Before today’s announcement, management of wolves in Oregon was divided along arbitrary lines that left wolves in the eastern third of the state under Oregon state management, while the remainder were managed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Now, all wolves in Oregon will be managed by the State of Oregon, which will ensure that the wolf population remains at a healthy level and that livestock are protected.
Statement from the Center for Biological Diversity:
This delisting will allow widespread persecution of wolves through trophy hunting and trapping in some areas and essentially end wolf recovery in the lower 48 states.
The Center for Biological Diversity intends to file suit to challenge the rule.
“Again and again, the courts have rejected premature removal of wolf protection,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But instead of pursuing further wolf recovery, the Fish and Wildlife Service has just adopted the broadest, most destructive delisting rule yet. The courts recognize, even if the feds don’t, that the Endangered Species Act requires real wolf recovery, including in the southern Rockies and other places with ideal wolf habitat.”
The delisting is unscientific. In 2019, peer reviews commissioned by the Fish and Wildlife Service found that the agency’s proposal contains substantial errors and misrepresents current science on wolf conservation and taxonomy. The five reviewers unanimously criticized the delisting proposal, and four offered strong opposition.
The delisting also runs roughshod over public opinion: There is widespread public support for wolf recovery. Last summer, the Service received a record-breaking 1.8 million digital comments opposing removal of protection from wolves. Of those, 650,000 comments came from members and supporters of the Center. Additionally, 17 senators and 69 representatives have signed letters opposing wolf delisting.