Red wolf among 10 species at risk by Trump administration, new report says
Washington DC– As the Trump administration works to finalize a set of rules to weaken the endangered species law, a new report released today lists 10 animals threatened by the administration’s existing and proposed policies .
The Home Office’s draft regulation released in July would harm these 10 declining species by making it harder to designate critical habitats for threatened and endangered wildlife and protect species affected by climate change. The proposed rules would also make it easier to remove listed species and reduce protections for endangered species.
Compiled by the Endangered Species Coalition, the report, entitled “Extinction plan: ten species at risk by the Trump administration», Highlights the species that would suffer under the proposed rules:
- california condor
- Master of Hell
- Humboldt marten
- Sea turtles: leatherback and loggerhead turtle
- Red wolf
- Rusty bumblebee
- San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat
- West Indian manatee
- Western yellow-billed cuckoo
For the report, the Animal Welfare Institute named the critically endangered red wolf – the most endangered canine on Earth and one of its rarest mammals. Red wolves, which once roamed the entire Southeastern United States, were victims of intensive predator control programs and habitat loss during the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1980, the species was declared extinct in the wild. From a captive breeding program, members of the species were reintroduced into the wild in 1987, in a five-county area of northeastern North Carolina. The recovery program became a global model as the reintroduced wolves flourished. At one point, more than 130 wolves roamed the designated recovery area.
Yet today, due to culling by hunters who mistake red wolves for coyotes and the politically motivated decision of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to abandon the recovery program, only two or three breeding pairs remain in the wild. AWI has successfully challenged the USFWS in court for its failure to protect the species.
Under the proposed regulations, the Trump administration would be allowed to justify delisting the red wolf based on any new genetic information, even though the genetics of the red wolf are still under active scientific investigation and no scientific consensus has not been reached. Separately, in June 2018, the USFWS announced a proposal that would reduce habitat in the Red Wolf Recovery Area by 90% and allow an unlimited number of Red Wolves to be killed, inconsequentially, on land. private and public outside the recovery area. This proposal met with almost unanimous public opposition. 99.9% of the more than 108,000 public comments received expressed opposition to the proposal and instead favored strong federal protections for red wolves.
“The population of wild red wolves has declined by more than 70% in the past four years alone, from around 100 individuals in 2014 to fewer than 30 individuals in 2018, largely due to mismanagement by the government ”Said Johanna Hamburger, Wildlife Lawyer at AWI. “Taken together, these proposals almost guarantee that the red wolves will again be driven to extinction in the wild in less than a decade. “
A committee of eminent scientists reviewed the listing proposals and decided which species should be included in the final report. The full report, along with photos and additional species information, can be viewed and downloaded at http: // en danger.org/extinction-plan. The Endangered Species Coalition produces a “Top 10” report each year that focuses on a different theme each year. Reports from previous years are also available on the coalition’s website.
Scientific consensus indicates that we are in the sixth wave of extinction. The main tool in the United States to combat this man-made crisis is the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which was very effective to prevent species from sliding into extinction.
The ESA is a historic conservation law that was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support (92-0 in the Senate and 394-4 in the House) and was signed by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 45 years ago . In 2017, more than 400 organizations signed a letter to members of Congress opposed to efforts to weaken the ESA, noting that the law has a 99% success rate, including some of the country’s most exciting wildlife recoveries, such as bald eagles, humpback whales, American alligators, Channel Island foxes, Tennessee purple coneflowers, and more.
Although the Trump administration and some members of Congress attempted to weaken the ESA, public opinion research indicates that the law continues to enjoy broad bipartisan public support. A 2015 poll by Tulchin Research found that 90 percent of American voters across all political, regional and demographic lines support the law.