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E-M:/ Michigan and wolves

The DNR has announced that it will be seeking to regain tools to allow the taking of wolves who are preying on livestock, following a court decision that overthrew a bad policy of the Bush Administration that sought delist and downlist wolves throughout the country from endangered status.  The court decision is being attacked by some outdoor pundits in our state, who have missed the importance of defending the very law that allows us today in Michigan to consider the wolf on its way to recovery.   


What gets totally missed in the narrow view of this decision is that the Bush Administration has been aggressively trying to undermine the ability of other regions of the country to achieve what has happened and is happening with protection and recovery of the wolf here.  The blunt instrument of the courts was used by conservation organizations (including Sierra Club, Oregon Natural Resources Council, the Minnesota Wolf Alliance, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility as well as Defenders of Wildlife) ONLY after the Bush Administration ignored the science and moved ahead with downlisting and delisting the wolf throughout the country instead of just in our region, where it is in fact recovering.  The judge’s decision (summary below) explains that we in this region are unique in seeing the success of the endangered species act in bringing restoration of this magnificent species (see the full opinion at: http://www.ord.uscourts.gov/rulings/03-1348opinion.pdf


The Michigan’s DNR’s need to apply for a new permit for control of problem wolves under the existing provisions of the Endangered Species Act is a minor inconvenience compared to the benefit of a court decision that recognizes the importance of science in the fight to restore endangered species in our nation.  All conservationists need to speak out for the importance of our nation’s basic laws that allow us today to see and enjoy progress toward habitat restoration and recovery of our nation’s wildlife.  


The Bush Administration is on a rampage to destroy that progress, an agenda that will hurt everyone, from bird watchers to hunters.  The Bush Admin assault ranges from trying to undo the laws that require the use of science to those that give us all a voice in the management of the public lands conservationists have fought so hard to establish and keep.  It is time for the bigger picture of the Bush Administration’s all out assault on our nation’s 100+ years of conservation progress to bring all the diverse interests together, instead of allowing the agenda of dividing our interests to distract us while the laws are being destroyed. This court victory was an important line in the sand to prevent the wholesale destruction of those laws. 


Anne Woiwode



It is internally inconsistent to assert that the gray wolf population is recovering based on currently populated areas when the Endangered Species Act requires evaluation of historically populated areas where gray wolves are now extinct.

The Fish & Wildlife Service failed to explain why it is reasonable to conclude that the non-existence of the gray wolf in viable habitat within its historical range does not warn of the gray wolf's danger for extinction. In other words, a healthy gray wolf population at the intersection of three populated states does not mean that the wolf is no longer threatened with extinction in the rest of the nation where it once lived and in areas where it could live again. Congress charged the Fish & Wildlife Service with developing a national plan for gray wolf recovery based on the gray wolf's historical range. However, that charge was lost in the Fish & Wildlife Service's decision that based the evaluation of the gray wolf's recovery on its current, not historical, range.

The record in this case demonstrates that Oregon's gray wolf population is non-existent. The current proposed state recovery plan for the gray wolf in Oregon that anticipates wolf packs in Eastern and Western Oregon and compensation to cattlemen for any future loss of livestock to wolves was not at issue in this case.



For Immediate Release: February 1, 2005

Contact: Annie Strickler, (202) 675-2384



                           CONSERVATION UNLAWFUL

  Statement by Mike Smith, Chair of Sierra Club’s Wildlife and Endangered

                             Species Committee


"District Judge Robert E. Jones in Portland, Oregon, yesterday ruled that the Bush administration has a duty to uphold the intent of the Endangered Species Act to recover populations of at-risk fish and wildlife. The decision, which declared the actions of Interior Secretary Gale Norton to downlist the gray wolf unlawful, is a victory for responsible wildlife management.


"The Bush administration's proposal would have undermined efforts to restore healthy wolf populations to America’s wildlands. With this decision the Bush Administration will need to move forward with wolf conservation that relies on the best available science, not ideology.


"This is a victory for science-based wildlife conservation. The Bush administration’s attempt to prematurely end the federal wolf recovery program in the Eastern United States is part of a politically-driven agenda to weaken enforcement of the Endangered Species Act -- the safety net on which America's wildlife depends.


"Now the American people have before them a great opportunity to keep the promise of the Endangered Species Act and restore healthy wolf populations that can be enjoyed by future generations."


The Sierra Club was joined by 18 other conservation groups in the suit including the Defenders of Wildlife.  The case is Civil case No. 03-1348-JO.





Anne Woiwode, Director, Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter

109 East Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906

517-484-2372, fax 517-484-3108  www.michigan.sierraclub.org