Congressional attacks on bedrock environmental laws are sadly nothing new. What is new, however, is the overwhelming magnitude and targeted nature of this recent wave of attacks. They are clearly intended to undermine the strength of lands, water and wildlife protections and would have disastrous implications for the future of conservation in the U.S.
Keystone predators, such as wolves, control prey numbers and behavior. On the lookout for wolves, wary elk eat more sparingly. This releases shrubs and saplings from browsing pressure, improves habitat for other species, and increases biodiversity. These cascading effects are based on powerful evolutionary relationships.
Alaska Rep. Don Young linked the U.S. homeless population to the wolf population in an outburst Thursday before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. After it became national news, with headlines quoting him as saying wolves would get rid of homeless people, he released a statement saying people may have "misunderstood my comments."
Today the HSUS and 21 other organizations petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to downlist wolves from "endangered" to "threatened" across most of their range in the lower 48 states. We took this action to maintain critical federal protections for the fragmented populations numbering just 5,000 or so wolves in the coterminous United States.