|Photo by NPS|
Wolves are marvelous animals. Given the right number, solid teamwork, a lot of determination, and a bit of luck, a pack can bring down a bison, an animal that weighs at least ten times as much as a single wolf. Right now we have the opportunity to attempt something as challenging. All it takes is making a phone call or two to your US senator or representative.
Here’s the situation: For the federal government to continue operating, the House, the Senate, and the White House need to approve a funding bill by April 28. Must-pass bills such as this have previously been used to sneak through anti-wildlife legislation that lacks enough support to pass on its own.
This must-pass bill could be used in that way too. According to the Endangered Species Coalition, there are currently more than thirty proposed bills in this congress that could harm endangered species or the Endangered Species Act. Any one of them could be passed by adding them to the funding bill. Some of the most concerning proposals would:
- Kick wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin off the endangered species list and allow these states to open wolf hunting and trapping seasons immediately. (S. 164)
- Prevent the US Fish & Wildlife Service from protecting the greater sage grouse—a bird that has lost a substantial portion of its habitat to oil and gas extraction. (S. 273)
- Put up costly and unnecessary barriers to citizens that petition the government to protect species under the Endangered Species Act. (S. 375)
- Give states control over when to kick Mexican gray wolves off of the endangered species list—even if scientists and experts deem them in need of protection. (S. 368)
Here’s where you come in: Call your US senator or representative right away and ask him or her to pass a "clean" government funding bill without any amendments—like the ones above—that gut protections for wolves and other endangered species or give away control of America's public lands.
Calling is surprisingly easy and much more effective than sending an email or signing a petition. Most likely you will leave a message or a voice mail. You don’t have to be an expert. You’re a concerned citizen and your senator or representative needs to hear your opinion.
Thank you for taking the time and effort to make the calls. With a big enough team, lots of determination, and a little luck we can help protect wildlife and wildlands. (And I’d love for you to comment on this post as to how your calls went.)
Rick Lamplugh writes to protect wildlife and preserve wildlands. He lives near Yellowstone’s north gate and is finishing a new book about Yellowstone’s grandeur and controversies. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller In the Temple of Wolves. Available as eBook or paperback. Or as a signed copy from Rick.