For Immediate Release, June 20, 2019

Contact:

Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821, cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org
Tara Thornton, Endangered Species Coalition, (207) 504-2705, tthornton@endangered.org
Melissa Smith, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf and Wildlife, msmith@wiwolvesandwildlife.org
Maureen Hackett, Howling for Wolves, (612) 250-5915, hackett@howlingforwolves.org

Minnesota Rally, Public Hearing to Focus on Trump Plan to End Wolf Protection

MINNEAPOLIS— Wolf advocates will rally on Tuesday in Brainerd, Minn., just before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s only public hearing on the Trump administration proposal to end federal protection for nearly all gray wolves in the lower 48 states.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is providing just one public hearing and open house on its nationwide wolf delisting proposal. That hearing, on Tuesday, will be preceded by a rally for wolves featuring speakers and advocates with signs.

“We’re speaking out and fighting back against this heartless plan to strip protection away from wolves,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolves in Minnesota and other states would be vulnerable to hunting and trapping if this proposal moves forward, but we won’t let that happen.”

What: A rally for wolves followed by a public open house and hearing, where the public can testify on the Trump administration’s plan to end federal wolf protection.

When: Tuesday, June 25; rally at 5 p.m.; public open house from 5 - 6:30 p.m.; public hearing from 6:30 - 9 p.m.

Where: Rally at Gregory Park, 511 North 5th St., Brainerd; public open house and hearing three blocks east at Franklin Arts Center Auditorium, 1001 Kingwood St., Brainerd MN 56401

Media availability: Wolf advocates and conservation groups will be on hand to speak to the media before, during and after the event. Video and photos of the rally will also be available for media use.

Background
In March the Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to remove federal Endangered Species Act protection from all gray wolves in the contiguous United States, except Mexican gray wolves.

If finalized the plan would allow trophy hunting and trapping of wolves in some areas, including Minnesota. This would hamper wolf recovery across the lower 48 states. The plan would likely prevent wolf recovery in the Adirondacks, southern Rockies and elsewhere that scientists have identified as suitable wolf habitat.

Last month a coalition of organizations submitted nearly 1 million comments opposing the proposal to remove wolf protection. This is the largest number of comments ever received by the federal government on an Endangered Species Act issue in the law’s 45-year history.

The Service has extended the formal public comment period on the delisting proposal until July 15.

A poll released last month shows the majority of Americans oppose the proposal to remove wolf protections. The poll, done by Public Policy Polling, surveyed 555 registered voters in early May.

The Service is holding just one public hearing on its proposal, even though it affects wolves across the country. In 2013, when the Service similarly proposed nationwide removal of wolf protections, the agency provided four public hearings, including in major urban centers.

Earlier this month the Service released peer reviews written by top wolf scientists. According to the peer reviewers, the agency’s proposal contains substantial errors and misrepresents the most current science regarding wolf conservation and taxonomy.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.