skip to main content

→ Top Stories:
Clean Power plan
Safe Chemicals

Andrew Wetzler’s Blog

Public Comment Closes on the Obama Administration's Proposal to Remove Protections for Wolves Across the Country -- Narrow Thinking Where We Need Bold Vision

Andrew Wetzler

Posted December 17, 2013

, , , , ,
Share | | |

Yellowstone wolf in snow (National Park Service) (photo by Jim Peaco; December 2003)Today marks the official end of the “public comment period” on the Obama Administration’s nation-wide regulation “delisting” the grey wolf.  The proposed regulation marks the culmination of this Administration’s push to finally strip every gray wolf in the country (outside of a small population in Arizona and New Mexico) of federal Endangered Species Act protections.  If the Administration gets its way, not only will established wolf populations in states like Idaho and Minnesota continue to be unprotected, but any wolves who make it to other states -- California, Maine, Utah, or Colorado, for example, will also be completely at the mercy of local governments.

Some of these states may manage wolves wisely, but far more have shown a pattern of disturbing hostility to wolves and a complete aversion to wolf recovery.  Just last week, news broke of a wolf killing “tournament” in Idaho. The Utah state legislature regularly appropriates hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to private groups to lobby against any wolf protections. Wyoming has designated over 80% of the state a wolf “free fire zone”, where wolves may be shot at any time of the year and in unlimited quantities. In Michigan, the state legislature has passed laws to bypass a popular referendum, which was almost certain to prohibit a public wolf hunt.  And those gray wolves that have made it to Maine have all been shot by hunters, who claim they mistook the wolves for coyotes.

For all the success that the wolf has enjoyed in some parts of the country, there remain huge areas of suitable habitat for wolf populations to establish themselves in the lower-48.  From the vast forests of northern New England, to the rich elk and deer habitat in Colorado, to northern California’s forests and rugged mountains, true wolf recovery means restoring healthy wolf populations not to a tiny fraction of its suitable habitat but, as the Endangered Species Act rightly demands, to a “significant portion” of that range.

These wild areas cry out for a return of their wolves.  As ecologists now recognize, the presence of wolves and other top-predators are a crucial part of restoring the health of our wild places.  From vegetation near streams, to trout and beaver populations, to song birds, owls and foxes, we now know that the entire fabric of ecosystems are transformed and made more healthy, diverse, and resilient when wolves are present.

Yet, despite this, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Obama Administration have continued their inexorable march to strip wolves of the few federal protections they now enjoy.  And I can’t help but wonder, why?  It’s not a popular decision.  Already nearly 800,000 comments have been recorded opposing the delisting proposal.  It’s not the science.  As NRDC makes clear in our comment letter, filed today, the scientific evidence justifying the delisting of wolves, particularly in the Northeast is shaky at best.  It’s not the law.  There are numerous legal problems with the delisting.  And it’s probably not politics.  Unlike a few years ago, there are no vulnerable Senate Democrats demanding a wolf delisting.  My money rests on bureaucratic inertia and a lack of vision.  Regardless, I hope the Administration sees the error of its ways.  If not, NRDC and our conservation allies will be there to fight it, every step of the way.

Share | | |


Elizabeth FoxDec 17 2013 10:40 AM

Some things are sacred. Please be on the right side of history with this decision.

Jennifer HallDec 17 2013 10:40 AM

Unnecessary! We need to focus on human population and environmental conservation!

Leslie CurrensDec 17 2013 10:41 AM

Please do not remove endangered species protections for the gray wolf. Please do not de-list this wolf. The gray wolf is a valuable species and we do not want to declare open season on this animal.

Leslie Currens
Austin Texas

Joel smithDec 17 2013 10:43 AM

Animals have rights too.

Ernest C. GaussDec 17 2013 10:54 AM

Enough is enough and these animals do not deserve what they are getting. Get the illegals out of the country....lower taxes ...not wolves.

Georgia AndersonDec 17 2013 11:16 AM

The wolf needs to be in our forest and plains to help keep a balance in nature. The hunters, ranchers, etc. MUST STOP shooting them. The only way to stop them is to keep the wolf on the endangered list.

Christina WeinhausDec 17 2013 11:20 AM

We need wolves and other predators in our ecosystem. The only way to keep these dwindling populations is to keep them on the Endangered List. It is too soon to remove them. Stop pandering to big business in the western states and protect these animals for our future.

Js AngelaDec 17 2013 11:20 AM

Please, I beg you with all my heart, protect the iconic and majestic wolves, our nature needs them. Please. Protect them from such a kind of cruelness like trapping and shooting!

Sheila HitchcockDec 17 2013 11:42 AM

President Obama, one of the reasons I voted for you is my hope that you will protect all wildlife and nature. There is no grey area in reference to culling. Protect all Wolves now.

Ingrid JohnsonDec 17 2013 11:47 AM

Please protect the gray wolves. Every place where they are allowed to survive has seen improvement in the health and well-being of other animals. They are a necessary part of the food web! They are part of our country and should enjoy protected status. Thank you, ingrid Johnson

Linda CummingsDec 17 2013 11:48 AM

The wolves are being sacrificed on the alter of ranchers who believe they threaten their stock. Targeting wolves with guns, gas, and helicopters is cruel and unnatural.

Ingrid JohnsonDec 17 2013 11:49 AM

Please protect the gray wolves. Every place where they are allowed to survive has seen improvement in the health and well-being of other animals. They are a necessary part of the food web! They are part of our country and should enjoy protected status. Thank you, ingrid Johnson

Cindy MartelDec 17 2013 11:51 AM

It is imperative that we find a balance that does not include killing off the natural inhabitants of this planet.

jill christenDec 17 2013 11:52 AM

I thought you were a human person, that is one reason I voted for you. You must protect all wildlife and those people that want to kill them for what they call sport i.e. trapping them and letting a bunch of dogs tear them apart and many dogs get hurt too. Killing them when they have babies. It's barbaric , in USA we are way to kill happy, more then any other country and for no reason, it must stop.

Mary EarllDec 17 2013 12:16 PM

Animals are trying their best to adjust to life with us on this planet....we need to do the same. Eliminating them rather than learning to live with nature shows how weak man really is!!!

Nalani HadfieldDec 17 2013 12:31 PM

Jennifer Hall writes "We need to focus on human population and environmental conservation!"
I understand how difficult in can be to convey context via FB posts. If you are inclined to find the protection of wildlife unnecessary, I can respect your right to declare these measures as not important. I would be a bit surprised to see your comments in a clearly environmentally protective society. I LOVE the dedication applied by NRDC and Sea Sheppard for the good of all creatures and their habitats.

John W. ParanaDec 17 2013 12:36 PM

We should be doing everything possible to protect the Wolves not slaughter them. Have we learned nothing from history? By delisting the Wolf you will be wasting the millions of dollars that have been spent over the years and thousands of people's hard work that had brought the Wolf back. We have already seen the slaughtering that is happening in some states. It is more important to protect the Wolf now than ever before!

John W. Parana

Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania

Angelika MossDec 17 2013 12:41 PM

The wolves were here before humans interrupted in there territory. Please stop the wolf hunt, so our grandchildren can see this animals alive and not in a picture.
All animals are here for a reason. God put animals on earth for the human to take care of them and not kill them

Tanya Arani ShimerDec 17 2013 12:59 PM

Take a stand. Take a risk. Do the right thing. Please protect these majestic beings who represent our relationship to nature and the world we live in. De-listing the wolves is a cowards ploy pandering to interest groups who do not have our eco-system or the legacy for our children at heart. Please do not de-list the wolf!

pat crawfordDec 17 2013 01:11 PM

please help these beautiful animals, i don't eat beef anymore anyway, it makes me sick.

Sc B. McKinneyDec 17 2013 01:14 PM

God created each creature for a specific purpose and the wolf is no exception. The wolves keep our world with their purpose of taking the sick and weak from the food chain. What do you think is going to happen if there are no wolves? Then the government will say, guess that was another mistake we made. Eradication of any species brings negative results and we need to learn from past decisions like this. Will the decision makers ever learn? Time to think outside the old box is now. We need them.

Lynn AndrewsDec 17 2013 01:18 PM

Mr Obama/ please please please don't do this- don't sign these beautiful animals up for mass slaughter.

Kyoshin LohrDec 17 2013 01:21 PM

Please please protect this magnificent being and its habitat! They need to remain protected in ALL states and the murdering rampages stopped in ALL states.

Marlen Ortega Cruz Dec 17 2013 01:27 PM

Wolves are an important species they are an essential part of the ecosystem and need to be protected. Please do not remove them from the endangered list and please continue to work toward their preservation so that the part that they play in this delicate and beautiful ecosystem can continue for generations to come.

Hannah KohlsaatDec 17 2013 01:46 PM

EVERYTHING that has already been said in defense of supporting this Act and it's maintenance, I emphatically reiterate.

Gordon WoodDec 17 2013 02:04 PM

Protect and save the wolves, save the humans! Honestly, there are no authentically good reasons to eliminate ESA protections for wolves, and humans, with their livestock and greedy sportsmen hunting psyches must learn to live with and share the habitat with wolves...

Richard IgnelziDec 17 2013 02:09 PM

Every effort should be made to protect these beautiful animals not to cruelly hunt them down for sport. With a bunch of people shooting at them for their own sick entertainment. The inhumane slaughter of this and other animals have to stop. It is not for food or for overpopulation control. It's just disgusting how we dismiss this as no big deal. It's just another animal. Well we should all take lessons from theses animals that only kill for food not just because they can. They need to be protected as well as their habitat. President Obama and other elected officials you have the power to stop this and listen to the people that out you in office. Stop the cruelty now.

Lynne LarsonDec 17 2013 02:32 PM

One of the things I expect from a Democratic President is the understanding that predators are essential to the ecological balance of all our wilderness systems. You cannot remove such an important part of the system without the system beginning to fail. I believed that President Obama would preserve these protections.

bonnie jayDec 17 2013 04:15 PM

the wolf, like all other mammals, fish and birds has a right to be here without human interference. You have no ethical right to put them up for slaughter now that we finally have them back again.

We need to protect our wildlife, not allow the wholesale murder. Deer would not be so abundant if you weren't killing wolves.

Nature has her own plan and although I take issue with the pain and suffering involved, I understand it.

You are intentionally creating more pain and suffering. That is not acceptable.

Fish and Wildlife is not acceptable. They do nothing to protect wildlife. Most of them are hunters and crooks on the take. You need a department that actually CARES ABOUT AMERICAN WILDLIFE.

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DELIST THE WOLF. Cattle ranchers would not have problems if the wolves were left alone to keep the deer population down instead of hunters who maim and don't track.

Are you even aware of the guy just arrested for killing 25 deer for FUN?

Lynn MartinDec 17 2013 04:20 PM

You are not compassionate, intelligent, insightful or responsible.


If you were ANY of those things you would not even consider this egregious action that is against everything we have been fighting for... the reintroduction of the wolf.


Remember, they were here FIRST. They were wiped out by humans. Don't let that happen again.


Either you're part of the problem which you are if you allow wolves to be murdered; or you're part of the solution, which you aren't if you do this.

sharon johnsonDec 17 2013 06:04 PM

I went to the Sacramento Hearing and was so appalled of the fact not ONE rancher that was there had ever even seen a wolf, the very animal they are so afraid of.

I learned something very important at this hearing and that is FWS has done nothing to educate the people about this animal.
I also witnessed ignorance, hate, bigotry and greed..

If you delist these animals, no animal will be safe from the same fate.


JoAnn DevittDec 17 2013 07:31 PM

Please do sign Mr. President. Wolves should not be mass murdered!

Florence NightengaleDec 17 2013 10:47 PM

Please do not release the proposal to mass murder wolves!!!!!!!!!What in the world are you thinking about, even considering such a hedious act against our beautiful wolves ~ they are part of this country and have been for thousands of years ~ please just leave them alone!

Jodi Desharnais Dec 17 2013 11:36 PM

Who's getting the kickbacks here??Monsato company doesn't Need these wolves land .. There's plenty other
Ranch land for them to grow their GMO foods on with
Which they enjoy poisoning the population with.

LaDonna PowellDec 18 2013 07:12 AM

Wolves are part of the natural food chain!!! Protect them!!!

Elaine CooperDec 18 2013 07:55 AM

We must always protect wild and beautiful animals - such as wolves - from extinction.
Our planet depends on the natural balancd of these animals .

Comments are closed for this post.


Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

Feeds: Andrew Wetzler’s blog

Feeds: Stay Plugged In