Poll shows strong support for wolf recovery in Pacific Northwest

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More than two-thirds in OR, WA, CA favor continued protections for wolves

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Sept. 18, 2013) – Most residents of California, Oregon and Washington believe wolves should continue to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, according to a new poll released by Defenders of Wildlife. The poll comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service takes public comment on its proposal to strip federal protections for gray wolves across most of the lower 48. This includes northern California and the western halves of Oregon and Washington, where there is still excellent, unoccupied wolf habitat.

The poll, conducted in early September for Defenders by Tulchin Research, shows that most Californians, Oregonians and Washingtonians want wolf recovery efforts to continue:

  • More than two-thirds in each state agree that wolves are a vital part of the America’s wilderness and natural heritage and should be protected in their state (OR – 68%; WA – 75%; CA – 83%)
  • More than two-thirds in each state agree that wolves play an important role in maintaining deer and elk populations, bringing a healthier balance to ecosystems (OR – 69%; WA – 74%; CA – 73%)
  • At least two-thirds in each state support restoring wolves to suitable habitat in their states (OR – 66%; WA – 71%; CA – 69%)
  • Large majorities in each state agree that wolves should continue to be protected under the Endangered Species Act until they are fully recovered (OR – 63%; WA – 72%; CA – 80%)


The following is a statement from Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife:

“These poll results confirm what we already know – that most people in the Pacific Northwest want to see wolves fully recovered. Over the years, I’ve met countless wolf supporters in the region who are excited for these iconic animals to return to wilderness areas in their states. They understand the essential ecological role that wolves play in maintaining nature’s healthy balance, and they think the species ought to be protected.

“With only about 100 wolves split between Oregon and Washington and none in California, we’re still a long ways from fully restoring wolves to the Pacific Northwest. It’s disappointing to see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service giving up prematurely when so much great wolf habitat remains unoccupied in the region. Only the Endangered Species Act can provide safe passage for wolves between neighboring states by ensuring there are adequate protective measures in place to allow for dispersal into more suitable habitat.

“Our primary hope now is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will listen to the millions of wolf supporters in California, Oregon and Washington who want to see wolves fully recovered in their states. Sadly, the administration has been turning a deaf ear so far to the many voices asking it to abandon the Service’s short-sighted and premature delisting proposal instead of abandoning America’s wolves.”

Background:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host public hearings on its delisting proposal in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 30 and in Sacramento, Calif. on Oct. 2. Written comments can be submitted until Oct. 28. Details here.


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Links:
Click here to download the full polling memo
Read Defenders’ response to FWS’ announcement about the public hearings
Learn more about the national gray wolf delisting proposal
Read the latest wolf news on Defenders blog
 

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org/newsroomand follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

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