The gray wolf has been listed as endangered for four decades

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The debate of preservation has been sparked, and some scientists oppose the delisting of gray wolves from ESA (Endangered Species Act) in spite of others demanding their protection to be removed. The issue surrounds the gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region that are currently under government protection.

After a century of persecution and aggressive hunting, the gray wolves around the western Great Lakes were placed on the ESA in 1974. Due to their incredibly small numbers of just 750, they were declared as endangered, and thus taken under the protective wing of the law. However, now their population has reached 3,700, and certain scientists claim this is a moment to remove them from the list of endangered species.

A group of 26 scientists have sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, stating that the moment has come for the gray wolves around Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to be removed from the ESA. It’s not the first time the problem has been approached, the most recent record being in December of last year.

In late 2014, U.S. District Judge, Beryl Howell, ruled that the Midwestern states did not have proper plans to protect them from humans, disease, or habitat loss. Thus, their protection continued, but it may see a change this year. The government is appealing Howell’s decision, and it could be overturned.

The group describe in their letter that the purpose of the ESA has been achieved, the agency has done its job, and it’s now time to remove the grey wolves from under protection. According to their statements, it would be detrimental to the integrity of the Endangered Species Act if the delisting does not happen. In fact, it will create less incentives for states to participate in recovery programs if their efforts are not rewarded once “science-based recovery has been achieved”.

Essentially, they bring the issue of “public resentment” toward both the ESA and the law itself. If they make efforts to preserve a species, achieve it, and then not see their ultimate goal of removing them from the list happen, they underline that it will create mistrust toward the authorities protecting them.

However, a group of 29 other scientists state that these suggestions are spread by “interests group that are vocal, but small in number”. Their response claims that the public’s tolerance toward the presence of grey wolves has increased significantly since 1974, when they were listed as ‘endangered’. They stated that they should only be delisted when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife uses the best scientific means possible to justify their removal from the ESA.

And, more simply put, the latter group has stated that the grey wolves still fit the legal definition of what brands an animal as ‘endangered’. In spite of claims, they insist that the there has not been substantial evidence that their survival could continue if they’re delisted. As Judge Howell has said, they are concerned with the lack of proper management plans of the wolf population.

Image source: whitewolfpack.com