Mollie Beatie Resigns

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Statement Of Rodger Schlickeisen, President Of Defenders Of Wildlife, On The Resignation OF Mollie Beattie

(06/06/1996) - Mollie Beattie has long been a true friend of conservation in the Aldo Leopold tradition. Even before she was appointed head of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, she demonstrated her deep-seated commitment to wildlife as Deputy Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and as co-chair of a Defenders of Wildlife commission on the future of national wildlife refuges. When she took charge of the agency that manages the refuges as well as endangered species and other programs, we expected her to be a staunch champion of wildlife. She has never disappointed us. Even when the political pressure on her was the heaviest, as when some members of the Northern Rockies states' congressional delegation attempted to stop the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park, she never once bowed to that pressure. Even when her physical strength was sapped by her illness, she emanated incredible moral strength and dedication to her job.

I will always have two endearing memories of Mollie as head of FWS. In the first, I remember her giving a speech somewhere, anywhere, always with her well-worn copy of Leopold's Sand County Almanac in hand and available for some appropriate quote that fit her subject.

In the second, I remember her in Yellowstone National Park in April of this year, helping to comfort a wild wolf that we were about to transport to another site for release. Smiling broadly in spite of rain, she is saying "Any day you can touch a wild wolf is a good day!"

Mollie is a good leader and a good colleague. More important, she is a special friend to many of us who love wildlife. Any day you can have a friend like that is a good day.

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Joan Moody, 202-682-9400 x220 (Media)