Trump Team’s Action to Remove Federal Protection for Endangered Wolves Days Before the Election Is Political Malpractice

The plan, if implemented, would lead to wholesale killing of wolves, especially in Great Lakes states

Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are swing states in presidential politics.  They are also wolf states — with the family-oriented gray wolves stalking the boreal forests in search of deer and moose and beavers in their northern reaches.

President Trump’s Interior Department team is committing political malpractice by announcing today — just days before the close of the national election — a plan to remove federal protections for wolves in the Northern Great Lakes region, and also throughout the rest of their scant range in the lower 48 states. Two top Administration officials are in Minnesota to tout the final action to remove federal protection for the wolves and turn over management to state fish and wildlife agencies clamoring for the chance to open trophy hunting and trapping seasons for wolves.

President Trump, by all estimates, is behind in the polls in all three states, and this is a calculated political maneuver to boost support in them. 

I want to tell the Administration that they are upside down on the politics of this issue.

Trump is trailing in the polls not because rural communities are showing soft support for him, but because he’s badly lagging with suburban voters, especially women.

He may not realize that attitudes toward wolves have come a long way since the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood’ portrayal of the “big bad wolf.”

Just look at the treatment of Canis lupus in perhaps the most popular television series of all time, “Game of Thrones.” The wolves became part of the Stark family, whose characters were the central actors in the seven-year, immensely popular TV drama. The wolf is the totem animal emblazoned on the flag of House Stark.  The forebearers of the dogs we love in our homes, they were viewed as powerful, family-oriented, brave, loyal, and intuitive – the very attributes we admire in people. 

The reality is, wolves play a critical role in their native ecosystems, as anyone who has watched the powerful documentary “How Wolves Change Rivers can attest.  Biologists in Yellowstone have found that wolves push deer and elk populations from overgrazed areas, enabling aspen and willow to reclaim ground and restore forest health. Restored streams have attracted more spawning salmon and trout, plants, songbirds, water-wading birds, and moose.

Wolf predation helps maintain healthy deer populations, lowering the frequency of deer-auto collisions and prevalence of crop losses. This saves private citizens and governments tens of millions of dollars a year. And wolves are a bulwark against Chronic Wasting Disease, a brain wasting disorder that kills deer and has cost states hundreds of millions of dollars to contain.

Wolves also generate jobs and commerce. The International Wolf Center in Ely, Minn. contributes $3 million to the local economy annually, and annual visitor spending has increased by $35 million since the reintroduction of wolves in the states surrounding Yellowstone National Park.

The Trump Administration plan, if not stopped in the courts, would result in at least 1,500 wolves being killed a year in the three Great Lakes states, with the states seeking to use steel-jawed leghold traps and snares. Wisconsin’s diabolical plan would allow hunting of wolves with packs of dogs — enabling animal fighting without the pit or the wagering, but with all the same cruelty.

And the killing would be done not for food, but just for the thrill of killing the animals and claiming a trophy.

The American public will no longer tolerate that kind of wanton cruelty and waste. 

In 2014, I worked on two referendums in Michigan to nullify an effort by state lawmakers to open up a trophy hunting and trapping season on wolves. Voters favored the measure to bar wolf hunting by an overwhelming margin, with 64 percent of voters in one measure favoring continued protections for the wolves.

Remember, that’s Michigan, which is viewed as a battleground state, and it is a key audience for today’s choreographed event

The notion that wolves have recovered across the range only passes the straight-face test if you believe “barely hanging on” constitutes recovery. Add up all the surviving wolves in the lower 48 states and they amount to only 5,000 or so animals — fewer wolves ambling over millions of square miles than there are people in the 12-square-mile small town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. There are not more than 200 wolves in any one of the states where they’ve recently stepped foot, including California, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington. If wolves lose federally protected status, then despite overwhelming public opposition, the mass killing of wolves will resume in more than half a dozen states where ranchers, trophy hunters, and trappers hold the balance of power and view them as invaders.

And let’s put wolf predation and conflicts in perspective. Although some wolves do occasionally prey on livestock, it’s minimal. Wolf kills account for between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent of all livestock deaths. Of all the world’s top predators, they are among the least threatening to human beings — with no documented attacks by healthy wolves on people in the lower 48 states in the last century.

Wolves are an economic and environmental boon, promoting wildlife-associated tourism, providing a check on prey populations, stemming wildlife disease, and strengthening the vigor of the ecosystems.

In a nation with more than 320 million people and just a few thousand wolves, only a distorted view of reality can lead one to conclude that wolves have recovered. Killing wolves for their heads and hides — or for the thrill and spectacle — is bad policy. It’s also bad politics. We may get some proof of that on Tuesday when the suburban precincts report their results in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The long period of persecution that wolves endured at our hands should be a lesson of history, not a guide for future action.

32 thoughts on “Trump Team’s Action to Remove Federal Protection for Endangered Wolves Days Before the Election Is Political Malpractice”

  1. We need to save the wolves from evil greedy people especially from that little dictator. He doesn’t understand any hung except get money for himself.

    Wolves helps the environment in baby ways. Life depends on it!

  2. THIS is so wrong !! Trump goes around acting like he is God !!!

    He has people in all the cabinets who will bend t his becking call and not say no to him!!

    He takes things into his own hands and doesn ‘t let congress do it’s job and this needs to go through congress

  3. Wolves have been an integral part of rejuvenating, revitalizing, restoring our national parks and forests. Kill them and watch the entire ecosystem collapse.
    Trump’s policy is dead wrong and he should be stopped.

  4. Wolves have been an integral part of rejuvenating, revitalizing, restoring our national parks and forests. Kill them and watch the entire ecosystem collapse.
    Trump’s policy is dead wrong and he should be stopped.

  5. I am on your side President Trump other than your treatment of animals. I know your sons are hunters but do the right thing and protect animals. We only have a few thousand wolves, do not allow hunters to kill them or people that have decided to take over land for cattle to have the right to kill the wolves. This is wrong and needs to be stopped.

  6. This is absolutely horrible. You have no respect, for nothing and no one. Do you really think that this world was only made for humans? All our actions will come back to us and it has already started, Only you‘re too stupid to see it.

  7. Disgusting, hateful, and uninformed actions by a very flawed human with no care for anything but himself.

  8. I love wolves!! And as a resident of Wisconsin who has seen them occasionally it hurts and sickens me even more. I am so disgusted by this current administration I can hardly stand it!

  9. We now know from empirical research data, the vital imperative importance wolves perform to properly sustain and enhance the ecological environment in which they live. From a moral perspective , in our ever expanding industrial global culture, non-human sentential beings are to be respected and protected for the benefit of our existence. It is equivalent to murder to kill these creatures like lethal criminals.

  10. This ‘president’ has no compassion for anything, just complete arrogance! He sickens me and most informed Americans feel the same. Instead of watching the world disintegrate before our eyes, we need to be fighting at ALL COSTS to protect our earth and the animals in it against ANYONE and EVERYONE violating it!


  12. This is all about lining politician pockets, many of whom have never been to Alaska, much less the frontiers and nature reserves.
    This must be stopped.

  13. Leave the wolfs alone they keep things at a even level in wild life. One of Gods creatures that we are to be caring for. Being good stewards of One of Gods Creatures. Leave alone. Do not end Protection Act for them. Enforse it. THANK YOU,

  14. For someone never has had interest in our environment its obvious. You should consider feeding the hungry, homing the homeless you are a disgrace to the people you want support from go straight to hell.

  15. Once again this despicable, selfish person is making decisions that negatively affect lives and the environment. He needs to be stopped. Vote him out!

  16. I’d much prefer a wolf at the door to a Trump in the White House.


  18. Dear President Trump,
    I have been a strong supporter from the start. I am asking only one thing from you. Please keep our endangered animals on the endangered animals list. If you remove them we will lose them and our grandchildren, our great grandchildren will never know the glory of these animals. So please do this one small thing that means a lot to so many.

  19. Why would anyone ok a bill to kill wolf’s they have no heart and they don’t care about God work , there no hurting anyone being wild , those people that said it’s ok are being very careless about our wild life

  20. I want my great grand neice to see these animals in their natural habitat. please,please don’t let this go on! I am voting for you but hoping you will do the right thing for her.

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