USFWS halts peer review process for national wolf delisting proposal

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Public outcry over excluded experts raises serious concerns over scientific integrity

WASHINGTON (August 12, 2013) – According to news reports today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) has put on hold the scientific peer review of its proposal to strip federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across nearly all of the lower 48 states.

The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife:

“While we still disagree on the merits of this premature delisting proposal, at least the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service understands the magnitude of the issue. It’s a relief that the Service has listened to the voices of wildlife supporters nationwide who have called the integrity of their peer review process into question. Cherry-picking scientists is not a good way to do business. To ensure impartiality and scientific integrity, we recommend that the Service turn the peer review over to the National Academy of Sciences instead of trying to manage the process itself. Either way, we look forward to a fair peer review of the science behind this ill-advised delisting proposal, and we hope the Service turns to the best experts in the field regardless of whether they have written letters about the use of their science in the proposal.”



Last week, several wolf experts were excluded from consideration for a peer review panel to evaluate the scientific basis for delisting gray wolves nationwide. They were excluded for signing a letterin May that criticized the Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal, saying: “Based on a careful review of the rule, we do not believe that the rule reflects the conclusions of our work or the best available science concerning the recovery of wolves, or is in accordance with the fundamental purpose of the Endangered Species Act to conserve endangered species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.” Among those excluded were Robert Wayne of UCLA, Roland Kays of North Carolina State University and John Vucetichof Michigan Technological University.


Get the latest wolf news on Defenders blog

Visit Defenders “delisting disaster” campaign page

Watch a recent interview with wolf expert John Vucetich about being excluded from the peer review

John Motsinger,, 202-772-0288

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.organd follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

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