Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Environmental Group to File Lawsuit Concerning Gray Wolf Restoration

Gray wolf

Recently, environmentalists stated on Tuesday that they intend to sue the Obama Administration in order to force it to restore the nation's gray wolf population across the U.S mainland. One particular environmental group, the Center for Biological Diversity, had sent a notice to the Interior Department saying that it would sue the agency within three months unless the federal government will devise a plan to bring the wolves back to their historical range. Biologists for this group argued that there is enough habitat to support thousands of wolves in New England, New York, the southern Rocky Mountains, parts of Colorado, and the Cascade Range in Oregon and Washington. However, the possibilities for this plan are uncertain due to the polarized debate of wolves in recent months.

After the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration sought to strip the wolves off their endangered species status and let the states to control their populations. One of the supporters for this idea was Senator Mike Crapo, a Republican from Idaho. He stated that the growing numbers of wolves are threatening the domestic livestock and big game herds in the northern Rockies. He, along with Republicans from Wyoming and Utah, attempted to back up the bill intended to remove the wolves from the endangered species list. Unfortunately, the bill failed because of Democratic objections. One of the advocates against this Republican bill is Senator Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland. He believes this this bill would undermine the Endangered Species Act. According to Noah Greenwald, the director of the Center for Biological Diversity, the wolves have a tremendous benefit from where they were reintroduced. They keep the herds of elk on the move, which allows riparian vegetation to reform and increases the population of songbirds. Also, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is currently analyzing the research in wolf genetics to see how populations in different parts of the nation relate to one another. Chris Tollefson, the agency's spokesman, stated that this effort is not part of the national recovery plan but could be used in the future. He further added that its results are expected by early 2011.

I'm very impressed to see such an environmental group is taking a stand against the de-listing of gray wolves in the U.S. Also, I'm proud to see one of the arguments provided by Senator Cardin concerning the animals' current state is supported by science and not politics. One of the points in this article that struck me is how wolves are beneficial to the nation's ecosystem. By keeping the elk on the move, they are contributing to the reformation of riparian vegetation in their habitat which leads to an increase in songbird population. This, in a sense, goes to show that wolves are a keystone species that play an important role for other wild animals. I also feel that it would be useful to bring wolves back in their former historical habitats. Some of these places like New England and New York for instance are home to only one "dominant" species of animal: the black bear. Although it's diet consists of meat matter, the black bear feeds mostly on vegetation. This means that the local deer population in the eastern U.S has flourished dramatically, and needs to be maintained efficiently. And wolves are the only animals left to take on such a task after the disappearance of the eastern cougar. Also, in places like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, the cougar has established itself as a dominant predator but like the wolf, it is also persecuted for nuisance. I personally feel that with both of these predators, the herbivore population would be kept thoroughly in check and the ecological balance would be maintained strongly.

View article here

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