USFWS: Don't downlist woodland caribou
Jul 10, 2014
The world’s southernmost caribou need all the protection they can get! Tell USFWS not to downlist WA’s woodland caribou.
Wild NW #237: The world’s southernmost caribou need all the protection they can get
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comments through August 6th, 2014 on a proposal to downlist the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou in northeastern Washington and northwestern Idaho from Endangered status to merely Threatened.
At the request of the Idaho State Snowmobile Association, the agency is arguing that these caribou are connected to a larger population in Canada and don’t require the Endangered listing. This is completely contrary to a considerable body of science generated over the past three decades!
The southern Selkirk Mountains herd, the world’s southernmost caribou, are greatly isolated by major highways and human development, and have steadily declined from an estimated 47 animals in 2007 to as few as 18 animals surviving in 2013.
There are 18 other subpopulations of woodland caribou in British Columbia, but these are fragmented with little or no interaction. The southern Selkirks herd is the only population that overlaps into the U.S. lower 48 states, and the most isolated. According to Canadian federal, British Columbia provincial and U.S. federal government scientists, the southern Selkirks herd is not connected to any other sub-populations remaining in British Columbia.
Because of their seclusion and alarmingly low numbers in the U.S., it’s critical that woodland caribou retain an Endangered listing under the ESA. The southern Selkirk Mountains woodland caribou are unique because of their feeding habits and habitat use patterns, and they’re the lone wild caribou we’ve got in the U.S. outside of Alaska.
To remove the Endangered listing and further risk our only woodland caribou herd going extinct just because snowmobilers want even more areas to ride is unacceptable!
Please submit a comment to the USFWS by August 6th telling them not to downlist Washington and Idaho’s caribou! You’re welcome to copy and paste the following statement:
Dear U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service,
The southern Selkirk Mountains woodland caribou are severely isolated and facing a dramatic decline in numbers. Woodland caribou are an important part of the ecosystem and environmental heritage of northeastern Washington and northwestern Idaho, and we want them conserved for future generations.
These majestic animals need all the protections we can give them. Downlisting woodland caribou in the U.S. simply because there are other populations further north in Canada is contrary to credible scientific findings from both countries.
Please preserve the current Endangered species status and DO NOT downlist the continental U.S.’s only remaining caribou to Threatened! Thank you,
You can also submit public comment by going to www.regulations.gov and searching with ID# FWS-R1-ES-2012-0097-0132.
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