Target: Daniel Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Ensure that rare wolves are not driven to extinction due to logging practices
Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for delaying protection for a rare species of gray wolf that is only found in the old-growth forests of southeastern Alaska. The Alexander Archipelago wolf is under severe threat due to logging activity conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in the Tongass National Forest. Without Endangered Species Act protection, these wolves will become extinct. Urge FWS Director Daniel Ashe to expedite the listing decision, which has already been delayed past the deadline set by the agency’s own guidelines.
According to the conservation groups that filed the lawsuit and the original listing petition, the Forest Service’s logging and road building projects only serve to advance timber sales, without taking into account that these practices are quickly destroying the habitat of the wolves, along with other species the wolves hunt for survival, including the Sitka black-tailed deer. The Service is poised to give final approval for several major timber projects in the coming months, which will impact approximately 10,000 acres of old-growth forest on the islands and coastline of southeastern Alaska.
Since the Forest Service commenced big timber sales in the area, the wolves’ population has consistently decreased at an alarming rate due to large-scale habitat loss. Human activity, in the form of industrial logging, road building and hunting, has killed the majority of the wolves. These rare animals roam the islands and coastal mainland of the Alexander Archipelago, and the old-growth, temperate rainforest found in the Tongass National Forest, and they rely on these ecosystems for hunting, denning and raising their young.
The FWS is delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the wolves because the Forest Service and logging companies are cashing in on big timber sales. These agencies should be working to protect the environment and wildlife, not destroying the landscape and driving species like the Alexander Archipelago wolf toward extinction. Urge FWS Director Ashe to ensure that these wolves receive protection in a swift and effective manner.
Dear Director Ashe,
I support the recent efforts made by conservation groups to save the Alexander Archipelago wolf from extinction, including the lawsuit recently filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Endangered Species Act listing decision is being delayed to serve the financial interests associated with big timber sales in southeastern Alaska.
The wolf population on the island of Prince of Wales alone has declined by approximately 80 percent since the listing petition was originally filed in 2011. According to agency guidelines, a decision should have been made within one year from the file date.
As Director of FWS, it is your responsibility to ensure that the environment and wildlife are protected from harm, including destructive human activity such as large-scale logging. I urge you to give as much consideration to the rare species of wolf found only in southeastern Alaska as you are giving to logging companies and their financial interests.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Retron via Wikimedia Commons