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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oregon Wild Press Statement on Gray Wolf Delisting

Oregon Wild Conservation Director Steve Pedery reacts to today's decision to pursue Bush delisting rule

Conservationists react with disappointment to Department of Interior announcement that Bush-era gray wolf delisting rule will move forward.

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Portland, Ore Mar 06, 2009

The following is the reaction of Steve Pedery, Conservation Director of Oregon Wild to today’s announcement that the Department of the Interior will pursue delisting of gray wolves in the northern Rockies. The delisting rule affirmed today by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is a holdover from the Bush administration. That rule was announced on January 14 of this year, just days before the new administration entered office. Last July, a federal judge in Montana rejected a similar gray wolf delisting effort after conservation groups brought a legal challenge under the Endangered Species Act.

Steve Pedery—“On Tuesday, President Obama stood before employees of the Department of Interior and spoke about the need to strengthen the Endangered Species Act and ensure that good science is used in natural resource management decisions. Today, Secretary Salazar has gone in the opposite direction by continuing a Bush policy aimed at stripping endangered species protection from gray wolves, the icon of American wilderness.”

“With the reversal earlier this month of some of the most harmful endangered species policies of the Bush administration, President Obama and his team have already done a great deal to fulfill the promises of change and put our nation back on the right track when it comes to preserving our wildlife heritage. Today’s decision to prematurely abandon recovery efforts for wolves stands in stark contrast to those efforts and for that reason is all the more disappointing.”

“Misguided wildlife management polices drove wolves in Oregon to extinction over 50 years ago. In 2008, the Bush administration sought to continue those misguided policies by removing gray wolves from the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Over a hundred wolves were killed during the handful of months that the Bush rule was in place.”

“Today, we are just beginning to see a recovery of wolves in Oregon, with a handful of these majestic animals now roaming the forests and mountains of Northeast Oregon. True recovery of gray wolves in Oregon will depend on healthy wolf populations existing in neighboring states. Unfortunately, Secretary Salazar’s decision to reinstate the Bush wolf policy will put these animals back in the crosshairs in Idaho, Wyoming, and elsewhere in the West, and endanger recovery in Oregon.”

“We urge President Obama and his administration to heed the comments of the millions of Americans who support gray wolf recovery, and halt this misguided policy. Our children and grandchildren deserve a legacy of protected wildlands and healthy wildlife populations. By continuing Bush policies on gray wolves, they are endangering that legacy.”

Department of Interior news release: http://www.doi.gov/news/09_News_Releases/030609b.html

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Since 1974 Oregon Wild has worked to protect Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters as an enduring legacy for future generations. We work at the grassroots and with our elected leaders to keep Oregon a special place to live, work, and raise a family.

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