Madison, Wis. Dozens of American Indian tribes asked the Biden administration on Tuesday to immediately implement emergency protections for gray wolves, saying states have become too aggressive in hunting the animal.
Groups representing the tribes sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland asking them to act quickly on an emergency petition filed in May calling the wolf endangered or endangered. He also asked Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico and the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency, to relieve the wolves on an emergency basis for 240 days to ensure immediate safety.
The groups say states have enacted “anti-wolf” policies that present “a real potential to reduce wolf populations.”
The letter does not name any specific states or policies. But Izzy Baird, a spokesman for the Relist Wolves Coalition working with tribal countries on the issue, noted in an email that Wisconsin hunters had exceeded their kill quota of 119 by nearly 100 animals during that state’s spring season; Montana allows hunters to kill 10 wolves every and allows private payments for dead wolves as reminders of the bounty; And that an Idaho law passed in July allows poachers to kill 90% of that state’s wolves.
The letter notes that wolves play an important role in the cultures of American Indian tribes and accuses the federal government of failing to listen to their concerns about removing wolves from the endangered species list in January.
“If the Trump or Biden administrations had consulted with tribal nations, as the treaty and faith responsibilities require, they would have heard that as a sacred creature, the wolf is an integral part of the land-based identity that is part of our communities. , shapes beliefs and customs. Traditions,” the letter said. “The land and all that is in it is our temple.”
Most of the wolves in the United States were removed from federal Endangered Species Act protections in the final days of the Trump administration. Wolves in the northern Rockies region, including parts of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and Washington state, Oregon and Utah, lost protection a decade ago under former President Barack Obama.
Groups include Allied Tribes of Northwest Indians, American Indian Affairs Association, Navajo Nation, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, Native Justice Coalition, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, and Inter Tribal Council. of Arizona.
Interior Department spokesman Tyler Cherry declined to comment on the letter.