Congress and the Trump administration continue to roll out attacks on the Endangered Species Act and the imperiled wildlife it protects. The latest is a cruel attempt to end protection for wolves, an integral part of our country's wild heritage.
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin has just joined forces with anti-wildlife Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to introduce legislation that would strip protection from endangered gray wolves in the Great Lakes.
This is political trading at its absolute worst: Sen. Cardin supports this new "sportsmen's bill" because it would also reauthorize the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay. However, this reauthorization is merely symbolic -- Congress provides funding for the cleanup of the Chesapeake every year, regardless of whether the program is authorized or not.
If this bill becomes law, the gruesome slaughter of wolves would resume -- between 2011 and 2014 nearly 1,500 wolves were killed in the Great Lakes before a federal judge restored protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Shamelessly and undemocratically, this bill would end federal protection and eliminate any judicial review of the decision. It would also permanently block the EPA from protecting our waters and wildlife from lead pollution caused by discarded fishing gear.
Please call Sen. Cardin at (202) 224-4524 and urge him to pull his sponsorship of the cynically named "HELP for Wildlife Act."
If you wish, let the Center for Biological Diversity know that you called so they can track citizen action on this issue.
SAMPLE SCRIPT (Shorten and reword in your own words)
"Hi, my name is ____ and I'm a constituent of Sen. Cardin's in (Town). I'm calling to demand that Sen. Cardin rescind his sponsorship of the "HELP for Wildlife Act" (S. 1514). Legislation that allows thousands of wolves to be hunted, trapped and slaughtered does not help wildlife. And legislation that causes more lead pollution in our lakes and rivers doesn't help wildlife either.
In fact, not a single animal or plant will be helped by this horrendous bill. There is no excuse for Sen. Cardin to have accepted such a lopsided political deal at the expense of our natural heritage, clean water and air. He should not have traded the integrity of the Endangered Species Act for a symbolic reauthorization of Chesapeake Bay cleanup. I demand that he pull his sponsorship of this shameful bill until all anti-environment language is removed."
WOLVES ARE VITAL TO THE ECOSYSTEM
Center for Biological Diversity: "We know that, for example, returning wolves to ecosystems sets off a chain of events that benefits many species, including songbirds and beavers that gain from a return of streamside vegetation — which thrives in the absence of browsing elk that must move more often to avoid wolves — and pronghorn and foxes that are aided by wolves’ control of coyote populations."
Groups like Defenders of Wildlife are helping livestock and wolves coexist on the same landscape. Defenders of Wildlife is working with ranchers to develop nonlethal deterrents, better animal husbandry practices, and other innovative tools that minimize conflict and build social acceptance for wolves.