Wolves as a species are endangered and have been in that state for many years now. The figures are so dire that the lower48 states of the US can boast of only about 5000 gray wolves (way less than the population at a regular Justin Bieber concert).
Conservationists reveal chilling statistics that show that there were up to 2 million wolves all over the country in the past and territorially, these predators now occupy only about 5 percent of the land mass they used to roam. It got so bad in the early 20th century, that as a result of intensified predator control programs these animals nearly went extinct.
Today however, some states can lay claim to the presence of gray wolves, they include; Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, California, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. But carnivore specialist native to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) informed the Dodo that these states mostly have the wolves present in tiny populations so their reach is still limited.
The sadness of it all is perhaps best captured by the prevailing situation in California for example, where the (approximately) seven known wolves living there are all members of a recently – returned pack of gray wolves for the first time in almost a century.
Oregon meanwhile has 81 known wolves and the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission thinks this number is enough to delist the wolf from the catalog of endangered species in the state (although the commission will not let hunters “take” more wolves).
The situation could get worse for these predators as new efforts by congress could possibly remove the remaining fundamental laws protecting them from extinction. Activists and animal welfare groups have described this as an intentional “war” against the wolves and their survival.
Several organizations including HSUS have written a public letter to the president to request that he blocks such a move.
The legislative actions are two – pronged; on one hand there is the 2016 omnibus bill which carries riders that seek to do away with the animal’s federal protections as contained in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in Minnesota, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Michigan. It would also prevent citizens from challenging the regulations as well as disallow judicial review of such an override to court decisions.
On the other hand, two senators, John Barrasso of Wyoming (R) and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (R) are trying to specifically delist wolves from the list of endangered species in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming. Their efforts will also seek to prevent courts from trying to help the cause of the animals.
Experts have released information as to the devastating effects this kind of legislation may have on the animals citing a previous occurrence in 2011 where the wolves were hunted in a free – for – all manner.