the big howl: help save wolves

In a few weeks, unless we stop them, the US will remove wolves from the list of federally protected species, opening up a killing season. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is following the policies of the past administration, rather than President Obama's stated intention of using a science-based approach to environmental policies. Six hundred wolves could pay the price.

My heart aches from the injustice - the simple wrongness - of wolf slaughter. Why? Why is the US sanctioning the killing of wolves?

Are wolves endangering humans? No. Wolves avoid humans, their chief predators. Even people who live and work in protected areas rarely - if ever - catch a glimpse of a wolf in the wild.

Are wolves threatening other endangered wildlife? No. Wolves help keep elk, deer and other ungulate populations healthy and under control.

Are wolves simply in humans' way? Wolves occasionally kill livestock. That is, sometimes a wolf will kill an animal that a human owns - an animal a human is going to kill for its own profit. That could be thought of as one of the hazards of ranching. In the US, thanks to the strong anti-wolf ranching lobby, if a wolf kills livestock, the rancher is compensated.

Wolves also kill animals that humans want to hunt for their own pleasure. Wolves need to kill elk to eat and live. Humans want to kill elk for fun. So humans want to kill wolves to better make the world into their own personal playground. Humans can live without recreational hunting, or with fewer targets to shoot. Exterminating an animal so humans have more opportunity to exterminate other animals is perverse.

But those reasons are excuses. The underlying reason behind wolf killing is ignorance. Bigotry. Throughout human history, the wolf has been feared and vilified, portrayed as a cold-blooded killer, a demon. Perhaps that was once necessary to human survival. Perhaps it was simply part of human mythology.

Either way, we know better now. There's no rational reason to kill this highly intelligent, social animal. It does us no harm. It serves an important role in the complex ecosystem in which it lives. And as humans were the wolf's only enemy - we killed massacred them on every continent - we owe them our protection.

Only decades ago, there were almost no wolves left in North America. But as pro-wolf activism and education gained strength, better policies began to triumph over ignorance, and the species has made a stunning comeback.

All that is now threatened. From the NRDC:
In just a few weeks, the mass killing of wolves could begin in Idaho and Montana -- and not even newborn wolf pups and their nursing mothers will be spared.

We cannot stand by while this slaughter unfolds. On May 4, the wolf's federal protection will be lifted, and government agents will be free to open fire. After that, the states will launch public hunts, targeting wolves.

We must act now to call off the guns!

That's why NRDC is launching The Big Howl campaign to mobilize Americans everywhere to protect wolves in the Northern Rockies from the crossfire.

Add your voice now to our campaign. Tell Interior Secretary Salazar to reverse his decision to kick wolves off the endangered species list.

This is absolutely the wrong time to rip away federal protections from these struggling wolves. Over the past year, the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park has declined by 27 percent, with more than 70 percent of wolf pups succumbing to disease.

One pack alone lost all 24 of its pups!

If the federal protections are lifted on May 4 as planned, newborn wolf pups and their nursing mothers traveling outside national parks will be in the line of fire.

That's why NRDC and our partners are filing suit in federal court to block this disastrous policy. But we must do more: we must raise a nationwide outcry that the Obama Administration cannot ignore.

And so we're calling on everyone who cares about wolves to take part in The Big Howl campaign.

Please call on the Interior Department to go back to the drawing board and submit this cruel plan to the kind of rigorous scientific review the Obama Administration has promised.

This campaign is not only for people in the US. The earth belongs to all of us. The creatures of the earth don't recognize national or state boundaries, and when it comes to helping them, neither should we. Public outcry has made a difference in the past, and it can now. Please sign.

NRDC's Save BioGems Campaign focuses on areas in Alaska, California, Utah, Alberta, Chile and Costa Rica, with special campaigns for rainforests, polar bears and wolves. Check them out. They do good work.



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