Breaking, horrible news.
The FWS, after considering the petition to list the Alexander Archipelago wolf as an endangered species, has announced today it does not warrant such protections, even though its population has seriously declined on the Prince of Wales Island (The USFWS noted in a recent Species Status Assessment that the Alexander Archipelago wolf population occupying Prince of Wales Island declined by 75 percent between 1994 and 2014, from 356 to 89 individuals).
The USFWS said in a Tuesday press release that the island wolves do not qualify for ESA protection because “the population does not persist in an unusual or unique ecological setting; loss of the population would not result in a significant gap in the range; and the population does not differ markedly from other populations based on its genetic characteristics.”
“We think the US Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t get it right and that they’ve overlooked some important things,” Larry Edwards (a Forest Campaigner with Greenpeace) told Alaska Public Media. “It’s very odd to us that the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges a 75 percent decline in the Prince of Wales wolf population and then basically writes that population off.”
The U.S.Fish and Wildlife Services’ extremely wide range population estimates (between 850 to 2,700 individuals, with approximately 62 percent living in British Columbia and 38 percent occupying southeastern Alaska) is evidence of their lack of knowledge about the species’ actual status. Another USFWS ‘prediction’ is that the current population of Alexander Archipelago wolves on Prince of Wales Island will continue to decrease by another eight to 14 percent over the next 30 years.
Bottom line, if the USFWS had found the Alexander Archipelago wolf worthy of endangered species status, the listing process would have limited or entirely prevented the ongoing timber sales on Prince of Wales islands (The US Forest Service plans to continue with old growth logging for another 15 years through the wolves’ habitat). One agency, yet again, washing the hands of another.
“After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf is not warranted at this time throughout all or a significant portion of its range,” the agency wrote.
The decision goes into effect immediately.
Detailed report from The Department of Interior: bit.ly/1O8OKrE
I am thoroughly disgusted with Interior Departments decision not to protect the Alexander Archipelago #PrinceOfWalesWolves under the Endangered Species Act.
Ignoring uncertainty – in dimensions such as true population size – is like playing Russian roulette. As the history of wildlife management has shown repeatedly, the consequences of not accounting for the unknowns are grave.
The Interiors assessments were made upon information provided by their own (fws) biologists! How impartial as well as disgraceful.