MISSOULA, Mont. – New data reveal a massive one-year decline in elk populations at ground zero of wolf restoration – Yellowstone – and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is renewing its call for Congress to delist wolves legislatively.
Reports also indicate that moose in the Yellowstone region are nearly nonexistent, adding even more urgency to the RMEF call for Congressional action.
RMEF President and CEO David Allen says two bills in Congress, a House version (H.R. 509) and a new Senate version (S. 249), hold the best promise. RMEF is asking lawmakers to remove unnecessary federal protections on burgeoning wolf populations and grant science-based wolf management authority to the states.
“Both bills would end the ridiculous lawsuits that are preventing a fully recovered species from being managed by conservation professionals,” said Allen. “And both bills would end the profiteering and abuses of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by environmental and animal rights activists who need a wolf controversy in order to protect their revenue streams.”
Allen said RMEF is asking its members and other conservationists to call their elected representatives and urge support of the House and Senate bills.
“All one has to do is look at the continued games being played with ESA rules by folks like Defenders of Wildlife, because that will make our case for us as to why delisting by Congress is warranted,” he added.
New data show the northern Yellowstone elk herd has declined from some 18,000 animals in the mid-1990s to just 4,400 today – a 75 percent decrease. Biologists estimate the herd has plummeted 24 percent in just the past year alone.
Other big game herds in wolf-inhabited areas of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming also are declining rapidly.