Gray Wolf delisting controversy continues

News
Feb 14, 2014

A new independent study on the population of the Gray Wolf has reopened the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) comment period for a delisting off of the endangered species list, where it has been since 1975.

The independent scientific peer review was hosted and managed by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), a research center at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

The independent panel of peer reviewers from NCEAS issued a statement saying that, “The USFWS’s earlier decisions were not well supported by the available science.”

NCEAS panel member, Steven Courtney, said the original science USFWS used to base their decision on was “not the best available science.”

They did, however, acknowledge that last year’s proposed rule represented a significant technical effort and recognized its logical consistency with the science used as the primary basis for the USFWS recommendations.

But animal rights activists still took the opportunity to jump on the statements, claiming that the new study shows the gray wolf should remain on the list.

The study did, however, convince USFWS to reopen the comment period on its proposal to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies and remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List. Interested stakeholders provide information that may be helpful in making a final determination on the proposal.

“Peer review is an important step in our efforts to assure that the final decision on our proposal to delist the wolf is based on the best available scientific and technical information,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “We thank the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis for conducting a transparent, objective and well-documented process. We are incorporating the peer review report into the public record for the proposed rulemaking, and accordingly, reopening the public comment period to provide the public with the opportunity for input.”

The peer review report is available online, along with instructions on how to provide comment and comprehensive links relating to the proposal, at www.fws.gov/ home/wolfrecovery.

The Service intends that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best available information. Comments and materials we receive, as well as some of the supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, are available for public inspection at www.regulations.gov under the docket number FWS– HQ–ES–2013–0073.

The Service will post all comments on www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes. Comments must be received by midnight on March 27.

The Federal Register publication of this notice is available online at www.fws. gov/policy/frsystem/default. cfm by clicking on the 2014 Proposed Rules under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

USFWS expects to make final determination on the proposal by the end of 2014. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor

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