Petition calls for reintroduction to all suitable habitat – a national recovery plan.
A petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity asks that wolves be returned to suitable habitat in New England, California, the desert West and the Great Plains.
The Introduction of the petition reads:
Gray wolves are one of the most adaptable mammals on Earth. They previously inhabited most of North America – excluding only portions of the driest deserts and today’s southeastern United States, which is the historic range of a separate species, the red wolf (Canis rufus). Wolves are incredibly important to the ecosystems they inhabit; studies of wolves in Yellowstone National Park and elsewhere demonstrate that the wolf is a keystone species that profoundly shapes ecosystems. Wolves limit elk herbivory of saplings in sensitive riparian areas and thereby aid beavers, songbirds and fish whose habitat is enhanced through growth of riparian trees (Ripple and Beschta 2003). Wolves have also been found to aid fox (vulpes ssp.) and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) populations by controlling coyotes (Canis latrans), which are intolerant of foxes and disproportionately prey on pronghorn fawns (Berger and Gese 2007; Smith et al. 2003, Berger et al 2008). These results indicate that broader recovery of wolves would benefit many species and overall ecosystem integrity.