May 30, 2019
Gray wolves are predators. But increasingly, they have been the prey of special interests and bad leadership.
The current administration has been on the offensive against some of the country’s most rare and special creatures. Its record on animal welfare has been abysmal, and wolves have been a main target. Gray wolves are currently protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in much of the contiguous United States, yet the administration renewed an effort to delist them, removing these important protections.
Two weeks ago, the Director of Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) followed suit and made troubling news by endorsing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to delist gray wolves across the lower 48 United States – to Governor Kate Brown’s strong objection. If delisted, gray wolves would lack federal protection and be subject to ODFW's questionable management and shrinking budget.
Wolves are both iconic and integral. An apex predator, they prey primarily on weak or sick animals, leaving the strong to thrive. By competing with other species, wolves help restore natural balance. If we can prevent more wolf deaths in Oregon, we’ll see this beneficial “trophic cascade” effect here.
We must not remove protections for this important species, especially when human activity is largely responsible for their decline. Without the ESA, we risk losing what little progress wolves have made toward recovery.
Recently, I joined several other concerned Oregonians at an event held to support wolf preservation. I’ve also urged ODFW's director to reverse course on this issue in Oregon, and fought against federal delisting in Congress.
As co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, I am standing strong against these attacks and against the threats posed to gray wolves. Oregon’s conservation values are strong, and sacrificing one of our most iconic species to appease private industry or pad budgets must be rejected.