• Open Access

Removing Protections for Wolves and the Future of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (1973)

Authors


  • Editor Wayne Linklater

Abstract

In June of 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing gray wolves (Canis lupus, Linnaeus) from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections throughout the conterminous United States. The proposed rule depends on a definition of endangerment that is inconsistent with the legislative history and historical implementation of the ESA, as well as numerous court rulings. The proposed rule also asserts that areas where wolves once existed but no longer exist are “unsuitable habitat” because people in these areas lack tolerance for wolves. That claim entirely ignores a significant body of scientific knowledge that suggests otherwise. By effectively narrowing the definition of endangered species and ignoring the best available science on tolerance for wolves, the proposed rule would set an unfortunate precedent with far-reaching consequences, including dramatically limiting recovery efforts for other species protected by the ESA.

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