STATES CHRONICLE – It’s a tragedy when a whole species of animal is wiped out entirely, especially when it’s due to excessive hunting. However, when an environmental group files a species as endangered just to stop an industry from further developing in a location is a grave abuse of power. These are the two sides fighting over the Alexander Archipelago wolf’s endangered status.
The Alexander Archipelago wolves can be found in Southeast Alaska, and they are a subspecies of the gray wolf, found all the way down to the British Columbia-Washington border.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service deemed the wolves’ population of 850 to 2,700 individuals as being stable, and denied the petition filed four years ago for their protection.
Initially, the issue started 4 years ago when environmental groups noticed that the population of Alexander Archipelago wolves was dropping severely on the Prince of Wales Island. They continued by notifying the authorities in an attempt to preserve the species.
A team composed of members from the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and British Columbia, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game decided that despite the 75% drop in the wolf population on the island, the species is safe, as it only represents 6% of the entire population of wolves.
However, it would seem like both the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the environmental groups moving towards the protection of the species have ulterior motives.
Both groups have their own reasons as to why the other one is doing what they are doing, and all arguments are just as compelling. Below, you can find both the sides’ arguments.
The state’s argument is that even if the wolves on the island are wiped out, of which they claim they are in no danger, the wolf species would still be safe, as the population on the island is small compared to the total number of individuals.
Additionally, United States Senator Lisa Murkowsk, Alaska representative, claimed in an announcement that the group has been trying to stop the timber industry on the island entirely for a while now; the industry, which is only a tenth of what it used to be 20 years ago, would have to be shut down if the species was to be declared endangered.
The environmental group’s argument is that it’s very strange for the USFWS to acknowledge the 75% drop in population and still do nothing about. They continue to say that if the species were to go extinct on the island, it would severely mess up the entire ecosystem.
Additionally, the groups continue by claiming that the state is only doing it to maintain their profits from the timber industry, at the expense of the local wildlife.
Whichever side is right, the truth is that the animals will be the only ones to suffer in the following years.
Image source: Wikimedia