RMEF Sends Letter to Pres. Obama Regarding Gray Wolves

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President Obama this week will receive a letter initiated by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and 32 partner conservation organizations urging removal of federal protections for specific populations of gray wolves.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar also will receive a copy of the letter.

"Together, the signees represent millions of America's most active conservationists. We're hopeful that our impressive coalition will help influence President Obama to clear the way for individual states to manage their wolf populations," said David Allen, president and CEO of the Elk Foundation.

The Elk Foundation continues to voice its longstanding support for delisting wolves under the Endangered Species Act, enabling state-based management. In December, RMEF joined with 18 other groups urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist wolves in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. In July, a judge sided with activists who challenged federal data showing that wolf populations are fully recovered in the northern Rockies. An injunction halted delisting and drew criticism from the Elk Foundation.

Allen urged Elk Foundation members and others to make their voices heard individually by contacting their state and federal legislators.

Here's the full content of the letter:

February 09, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

On behalf of millions of our nation's sportsmen and women, the undersigned conservation organizations urge you to support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) decision to remove the western Great Lakes population and portions of the northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As you are aware, hunters and anglers have always supported the legal protection of fish and wildlife species that require that protection to survive and flourish. In the case of the subject of gray wolf populations, ESA protection is no longer legally required or necessary.

The recovery plan's biological goals for wolves in the Rocky Mountains were attained in 2002. Both population size and breeding pair estimates now exceed recovery goals by 500% and 333%, respectively. The western Great Lakes population has also exceeded its population goals for several years. The decision to list or delist a species under the ESA requires a process based solely on the scientific analysis of the species' ability to survive in the foreseeable future. The population levels attained in both areas, current productivity rates, state fish and wildlife agency wolf management plans, and the FWS's five year monitoring plan assure that wolf populations will be abundant and sustainable for the foreseeable future.

The ESA's true measure of success is the recovery of species once threatened with extinction. Gray wolf numbers in the Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes regions have dramatically increased since their original listing in 1974. This recovery was due to the efforts of federal and state fish and wildlife agencies, tribal governments, hunters, and private landowners. It has been a clear demonstration that the ESA can succeed when supported by diverse stakeholders. Please provide your support and encouragement to the FWS and the Department of the Interior's Office of the Solicitor to vigorously defend their decision to delist gray wolf populations based on the best science that is available to them. In the past, some ESA lawsuits have neither been founded in science nor the spirit and intent of the ESA. We know that your administration will receive pressure to reverse this decision but biologists, hunters, land managers, private landowners, and other citizens across the nation have worked hard and made sacrifices to achieve recovery for wolves. They deserve to know that the ESA really does work. The undersigned organizations stand ready with your administration to celebrate another ESA recovery success story.

We thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,
Archery Trade Association
Bear Trust International
Boone & Crockett Club
Bowhunting Preservation Alliance
Campfire Club of America
Catch-a-Dream-Foundation
Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation
Conservation Force
Dallas Safari Club
Ducks Unlimited
Houston Safari Club
Mule Deer Foundation
National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses
National Rifle Association
National Shooting Sports Foundation
National Trappers Association
National Wild Turkey Federation
North American Bear Foundation
North American Grouse Partnership
Orion - The Hunter's Institute
Pheasants Forever
Pope & Young Club
Quail Forever
Quality Deer Management Association
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Ruffed Grouse Society
Safari Club International
Texas Wildlife Association
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance
Whitetails Unlimited
Wild Sheep Foundation
Wildlife Forever
Wildlife Management Institute

CC: Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Department of the Interior

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Snowy peaks, dark timber basins and grassy meadows. RMEF is leading an elk country initiative that has conserved or enhanced habitat on over 5.5 million acres-a land area equivalent to a swath three miles wide and stretching along the entire Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. RMEF also works to open, secure and improve public access for hunting, fishing and other recreation. Get involved at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.