Wolf rally in DC, © Defenders of Wildlife

DC Wolf Rally Urges Continued Protections

John Motsinger, Communications Specialist

Defenders-shirtDefenders staff and dozens of wolf advocates showed their true colors yesterday… by wearing gray t-shirts in support of gray wolves! About 100 people chanted, howled and made their voices heard in front of the Interior Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., opposing the premature delisting of wolves nationwide. Even amidst a looming government shutdown, the rally drew much-needed attention to the plight of wolves across the West as they move closer to losing federal protection.

Special guest Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) dropped by to kick-off the rally by talking about the importance of wolves. He noted how dramatically wolves have improved the Yellowstone ecosystem, as well as the economic benefits that wolf tourism has brought to local communities.

Next, Defenders President Jamie Rappaport Clark called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal unacceptable, saying the federal government – our government – is giving up too soon.

“We didn’t stop fighting for bald eagles until they were soaring in the skies from coast to coast. We didn’t quit protecting American alligators until they inhabited estuaries from Texas to the Carolinas. And we shouldn’t abandon wolves now before our work is done.”

Debbie Sease with Sierra Club and Leda Huta with Endangered Species Coalition continued with speeches along similar lines, holding the Fish and Wildlife Service and Obama administration accountable for walking away from wolf recovery. And 6-year old Naoma wrapped up the show with touching poem she wrote with her grandmother.

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Even more people attended the public hearing that followed the rally, most of them offering very heart-felt testimony against the proposal to strip federal protections for gray wolves across most of the lower 48. Wolf supporters traveled from as far as Florida and Washington State to share their views on wolf recovery. Some shared personal stories of seeing wolves in the wild. Others talked about the important ecological role that wolves play in maintaining nature’s balance. Many decried the unnecessary killing of the beautiful animals that we’ve worked so hard to restore.

Jamie Rappaport Clark also gave expert testimony as the former director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and Defenders’ Executive Vice President Don Barry, who served as the Interior Department’s Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks during the Clinton administration, spoke on behalf of himself and two others who held his position, all in opposition to the delisting proposal. Defenders also submitted for the hearing record a petition signed by 145,000 Defenders supporters who oppose the proposed delisting, plus nearly 10,000 personalized letters written by wolf advocates expressing their outrage and disappointment with the current proposal.

Not surprisingly, all but a handful of those testifying were there to ask the Fish and Wildlife Service NOT to delist wolves. One of the only people to support delisting was a young representative for Safari Club International who said wolf management should be left to the states, and that doing so would improve social tolerance. Unfortunately, experience to date has proven otherwise. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have allowed aggressive hunting and trapping of wolves in the last two years that has started to drive populations down with no sign of stopping. Further, the continued persecution of wolves based on myths and fairy tales has only led to more divisiveness.

With gray wolves only occupying about eight percent of their historic habitat and about a third of remaining suitable habitat, how can the federal government declare mission accomplished? We’re confident that a fair and unbiased peer review of the science will show that wolf populations are still not secure across a significant portion of their range. And we’re hopeful that the Fish and Wildlife Service will use that as the basis for maintaining federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves.

Be sure to submit your written comments by the Oct. 28 deadline if you haven’t already done so. Because the federal government is currently shut down, the public hearings scheduled for Sacramento and Albuquerque later in the week have been postponed. But Defenders will still host our training session and a gathering of wolf supporters as previously planned. In the meantime, stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Thanks again to all Defenders members and supporters and all the wolf advocates who turned out in force yesterday to take a stand for wolves! Together, we will ensure that wolves have a brighter future nationwide.

39 Responses to “DC Wolf Rally Urges Continued Protections”

  1. lesh Cristiano

    i submitted a letter and signed petition.i couldn’t attend but hope in a small way that what i could do helped.It breaks my heart to know what these beautiful creatures are going through.

  2. Renee

    Unacceptable. Save our wolves! For livestock farmers complaining- 1. You built your far, on their territory. 2. There are humane ways to wolf proof your farm. 3. Government for giving up- scew you.

  3. Ellen Marmon

    It is clear that the majority of Americans, a large majority, do NOT want wolves removed from the Endangered Species List. I’m one of that majority; in fact, I want them re-listed in those regions where hunting and trapping is now allowed. I think it was very short-sighted and very, very bad environmental policy to de-list wolves in those areas in the first place. These beautiful, iconic animals are part of my heritage as an American; I have watched with gratitude and wonder as their re-introduction to our landscape has seem to succeed, and I’m outraged that all of those hard-won gains are now at risk. Please continue this good work. Thank you.

  4. Aaron Hubert

    Of coarse we should not delist wolves. They are amazing animals. Unfortunately money runs this country, even more unfortunate is the fact that there isn’t much money on the issue of wildlife conservation. If we are to make progress on behalf of wolves we also need to get money out of politics. Right now our representatives are funded by the oil companies and other groups that destroy the enviornment. Until we can change that we will not make much progress. Now I’m sure this varies depending on where you go but most people that I talk to agree we need to protect our enviornment. The vast majority of people that I told about the delisting proposal were not happy about it and some were even furious. Wolves already have people’s support. But if we have any chance of winning we need to take the monetary advantage out of the hands of our enemies.

  5. Gail Koller

    I think that our governments today in the US and Canada are not reputable. The government is supposed to be run by the people and for the people. Our supposed democracy does not seem to be happening now. I am addressing the delisting of our wolves first and foremost should never happen. We the people do not want this or agree with it. Another thing is the pipelines that the president and prime minister are so fervently pushing for – – – – -completely ridiculous to jeopardize everything that we have: water, land, trees, wildlife —-all for the sake of money which we will not see any of.

  6. Sully

    We never really appreciate something until it’s gone…learn to appreciate wolves so we dont have to get to that point…ever! Leave the wolves alone

  7. Michael Guest

    This is very urgent. The wolves are also part of the ecosystems. I want those creatures to stay protected everywhere. They need our help more than ever. So I’d say Save the wolves, and let them live in peace not war.

  8. Rebecca

    Leave them be! In my 37 years on this planet (most of it living in Missouri), I have never been able to walk out my door and hear the howl of a wolf. I’ve been cheated because of the ignorance of human beings. The wolves have come too far to be brought low again. NEWSFLASH! the wolves were here first. If you choose to “live off the land” then accept it’s natural predators. If you can’t do that then find a different profession. Wolves were fine before us humans came along to play God.

  9. Kathy Cooper

    Here is part of my letter to USFWS

    Montana and Idaho have given us a peek into the inability of states to manage this very difficult animal. These state governments have exhibited behavior that is not conducive to maintaining a healthy wolf population after the protections are lifted. Butch Otter in Idaho said he wanted to be the first to shoot a wolf. Montana’s legislature has increased the allowed “take” over the recommendation of Yellowstone Park scientists and staff to defeat the bill. Yellowstone wolves that wander beyond park boundaries instantly become targets for sport and some collared wolves that were part of a study have been taken. Not only did they increase the limit, they extended the wolf hunt season by 45 days. In both Idaho and Montana state agencies are teaching wolf trapping classes. Even in New Mexico, where Mexican Grays are protected the most recent release was shot and killed within a few weeks.
    The agency, aided by many NGOs and hundreds of volunteers has worked hard to recover a healthy wolf population. Now we must work to educate ranchers, sheepmen, state legislators and the general public on the value of apex predators on the landscape and the true nature of wolves. Until that happens there should be no consideration of delisting.

  10. Joanie Loveless

    Now is the time to work for our humane act of tolerance that includes wildlife protection in our beautiful country, full of those negative thinkers who forget that the balance of nature is eminent with out our interference. Grey wolves are our concern as the federal government forgets they granted protection of this species due to over killing by hunters. Yellowstone has benefitted by the Grey Wolf and their ability to weed out the weak and diseased in deer. Please remember this is our responsibility to protect not slaughter the balance of nature.
    Joan Loveless, Saylorsburg, PA

  11. sammy tanner

    God give us these magnificent creature’s it is our responsibility to save them from extention.Thank you Sammy

  12. Garland

    I know of a woman who has a ranch in one of the states where wolves have been delisted. ( I am not naming the state for safety reasons). She has large dogs and a wolf that chose to befriend and stay with her. When she takes her dogs and Wolf for a run on her property, she takes along a loaded shotgun because she is terrified that one of the wolf haters in her area will see and kill her wolf. Wolves should NEVER have been delisted ANYWHERE in this country, because of the fanatics out there, who still hold 19th century values. I was planning to testify about this at the hearing, but was not able to attend for health reasons.





  15. BJ

    This is a waste of time and money and another horrible example of wrongdoing, greed and mismanagement by our illustrious leaders. Leave the wolf (and all wildlife) alone before our environment is as destroyed as our government.

  16. Mary Emmons

    I agree with so many posts on here. Our wildlife and wild places need our protection or we will be a world without anything but a bunch of heartless humans. The wolves were put on this earth for a reason and that was not so us humans could cull them out. We are not getting truthfull science based research and the only ranches that are being attacked are those that lease property on forest land. The wolves do not realize that this land is off limits because it is wilderness area. Farmers need to take appropriate (non lethal) measures to protect their livestock and not just expect the government to handle it. There is also claims that the wolves are killing all the deer and elk out there. Seriously! I think us humans have taken care of that! Don’t blame the wildlife people . . . some of you hunters need to take a good long look in the mirror! Please save our wolves before they are extinct as well.

  17. Johanne Zell

    Wildlife adjusts to nature. Our growing human population already upsets the balance by our very presence. We don’t need to kill to speed up the process of endangered species.

  18. Bartley deason

    Maybe it is time to de-list the wolf killers/hunters. Let’s make it open season on all of them.

  19. Suzanne Wilstam

    Wolves are a valuable part of our ecosystem. Politics and greed should not be a part of delisting wolves, but it is. Some politicians want wolf land for pipelines and other things that will destroy our environment. They really do not care about the wolves plight. Wolves deserve to live in peace with their families, just as humans and elephants should. Murdering them is a travesty and goes against humanity.
    Suzanne Wilstam, California

  20. Suzanne Wilstam

    Wolves are a valuable part of our ecosystem. Politics and greed should not be a part of delisting wolves, but it is. The fact that greedy politicians want wolf land for pipelines is inhumane. Murdering wolves is a travesty and goes against humanity.
    Suzanne Wilstam, California

  21. Susan Robertson

    Wolves should be relisted and their “management” should not be turned over to individual states (in which special interest groups such as hunters and ranchers are exerting undue political pressure and simply want to eradicate wolves completely – and cruelly). I have seen excellent documentaries which showcase innovative ways to reduce predation on grazing animals through a combination of using guard dogs, educating ranchers to graze their herds certain minimum distances from forested areas, even using recorded wolf calls, as a few examples. I have also seen an amazing documentary ( a “Nature” program on PBS entitled “”Predator”) which revealed the benefiical effect of maintaining apex predators in ecosystems – and, conversely, the detrimental effect of elimination apex predators on ecosystems. One case in point contrasted two areas in the Grand Canyon area. The area without wolves and cougars showed an increase in grazing animals which degraded the local flora to the point that there was erosion along the river bank, loss of trees and other foliage and an overall loss of bird and other species which depended on the various trees and plants that were lost. Herd health is another service that apex predators provide – they, unlike human hunters, remove the sick and weak. Hunters remove the healthiest (trophy) members of a herd. The same documentary showed the improvement in an degraded area to which wolves were reintroduced; and after a period of 30 years, a richly diverse ecosystem was restored.

    Naturalists have worked very hard to restore the balance and re-establish wolves – AND educate the public about how to coexist with wolves. Protections should be restored for all wolves. The federal lands belong to ALL Americans – not just state residents who wish to exploit the lands for their own purposes. There are many citizens who want to maintain biodiversity and enjoy healthy wild ecosystems that have not been spoiled by special interests.

  22. Lyn McDonald

    As a New Zealander we do not have the privilege of having wolves live in our Country, but have read many books on them, and am amazed at their intelligence, and over many things I think that they are more intelligent than many humans i.e. their form of birth control…….they produce only what they can sustain, whereas our younger generation do not appear to have any conscience over this, especially in New Zealand where our unmarried mother produce one baby after another and the tax payer has to keep them…..PLEASE in the love of God, protect these beautiful creatures that you have been so blessed to have in your Country and put aside the primitive fashion of killing all of your wild species….they deserve this protection…..it just breaks my heart to read of what is going on your country.

  23. Holly Hall

    States must not be allowed to “manage” them, because Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are treating them more as devils that must be annihilated. It broke my heart when the mother and her babies were killed recently. The wolf is an American icon and deserves a real chance to make a recovery. There are ways to allow them to occupy the same territory as livestock without much incident. They are important for the balance of nature to keep pests and the diseased in check. They are a majestic symbol of the Old West and nature and freedom, and need to be preserved! I have never seen one in the wild, but would love to do so. We need to be good stewards of our earth and all that is on it.

  24. Linda L

    Please do the right thing…Save the Wolves. It is our responsibility to care for every living animal and protect them.

  25. Tricia Raines

    Wolves are not only a vital part of the eco-system, but are honored and sacred to many of our nations indigenous population. It is important to continue to protect these animals, whose recovery is still in a fragile state; to educate farmer’s on humane, non-lethal ways to protect their livestock; to educate people living in areas where these protected creatures live on the life cycle and behaviors of these animals whose territory these humans have encroached upon; and learn to share this earth with all the creatures with which the Creator has blessed the land. We, our animal brethren as well as our human counterparts, are a part of a great wheel of life, each a vital spoke on that wheel. Remove enough spokes (by allowing their population to be decimated), and the wheel no longer functions, but rather grinds to a halt. Please keep these majestic creatures on the list of protected species. We humans are expected to be the stewards of this planet, let us do a better job of it in the future than we have in the past!

  26. Louise Esther Rothstein

    Please point out that portable electric fences can prevent young wolves from harassing livestock while they are learning to hunt:
    They do need to know what to hunt and what not to.

    This does make a difference.
    They just don’t forget…So…

    Make sure they don’t practice upon the wrong “prey.”

  27. Diana Webb

    I’m sorry I couldn’t be there in person, but I was there in Spirit. Our Wolves have a right to be left alone. They are part of the Earth, so let them alone.

  28. Denise Doebbeling

    The spectacle of the slaughter of wolves in Wyoming, Montana, and in Idaho in the last 2 years is shocking and discouraging. It reveals that ranchers and hunters think like the killers of wolves in the 1920s. My own father was part of that slaughter. Since that time, we see what has happened to the land when the wolf is gone: unhealthy ranges, unhealthy herds of deer and elk, disappearance of birds, and trout in muddy, warm streams.
    It is evident that delisting does not work as a state responsibility. The federal government should take back control of the healthy development of wolves in wild lands.

  29. Lynn Greene

    It is disgusting and horrifying how humans are murdering the wolves of our country! Wolves deserve to thrive and must be protected from those who want to kill them for pleasure or profit. Please keep federal protections for wolves!!!!!

  30. Isabel M Fuica

    Other species, such as the bald eagle, American alligator and peregrine falcon, were declared recovered and delisted when they occupied a much larger portion of their former range. Wolves deserve the same chance at real recovery.and let them live in peace, they are absolutely necessary to keep a healthy environment, not demonize them, are God’s creatures like us, yet they do not shoot us, they do not annihilate, they did not pursue us in airplanes to kill us… Please do not delisting them!

  31. Laurie


  32. Andrea Alsup

    Please do not drop grey wolves from their protected status. Their population numbers are not high enough yet.
    Thank you,
    Andrea Alsup
    South Royalton, VT

  33. Ariel Jones

    The federal government should be protecting these animals. Clearly many states don’t care. How many more species will the US decimate??? Ugh. PROTECT THE WOLVES AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT BEFORE FINANCIAL INTERESTS ONCE AGAIN RULE OVER QUALITY OF LIFE!!! KEEP GREY WOLVES PROTECTED!!!

  34. Ariel Jones

    The federal government should be protecting these animals. Clearly many states don’t care. How many more species will the US decimate??? Ugh. PROTECT THE WOLVES AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT BEFORE FINANCIAL INTERESTS ONCE AGAIN RULE OVER QUALITY OF LIFE!!! KEEP GREY WOLVES PROTECTED!!!

  35. Mandy Stewart

    I live in the UK where wolves were made extinct hundreds of years ago. Now the only chance I will ever get to see or hear a wolf, is to visit one of the sanctuaries here. Please do not let this happen in your own country. These beautiful animals have such an important role in sustaining equilibrium within the eco system. Apart from that fact, what right does “man” have in allowing the extinction of an animal that has walked this earth long before us?
    Please save the wolves, and protect them so they can live as nature intended.

  36. sandy

    please protect our wolves .Why is it that man has to destroy everything beautiful.wolves are beautiful and what happens when their pups are left behindto fend for their selfs .How would you feel if someone killed your pet.

  37. Barbara

    I think it is disgusting what the state of Idaho is doing to the wolves. The wolves are in there natural homes and to any farmers who support the killing of the wolves they were there first and you shouldn’t own a farm if you cannot afford the proper humane barriers to keep out the wolves. They DO NOT deserve to be killed just because lazy humans don’t want to take responsibility for protecting their property the RIGHT WAY The focus should be on all the terrible horrible people in the world not the animals.

  38. Neeta

    People get your head around this with out animals we would all be dead. So for the people who think de listing wolfs is a good idea well then I think you people are
    Stupid and I hate using that word but you are . These animals are awesome and beautiful. So please do not give up on these animals.

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