Biden administration urged to consult with tribal nations on gray wolf management, protection

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WASHINGTON – Following the conclusion of the White House Tribal Nations Summit last week, more than 60 conservation groups today called on the Biden administration to immediately re-enroll the Gray Wolf and engage with the nations tribals on the management and protection of the wolf.

During the summit, President Biden announced important new steps his administration is taking to better recognize tribal sovereignty and protect the rights of indigenous communities, including formally committing the Home Office and 16 other agencies to protect rights. from tribal treaties in policy making and agency regulatory processes. .

Notably, the Biden administration issued a Memorandum of Understanding on Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, or ITEK, and federal decision-making. The memorandum underscores a commitment to “ensure that federal agencies conduct regular, meaningful, and robust consultations with tribal officials in the development of federal research, policy and decisions, particularly decisions that may affect individuals. tribal nations and the people they represent ”.

Further, the memorandum recognizes ITEK as “an important body of knowledge that contributes to the advancement of the United States and our collective understanding of the natural world.”

Written by the Global Indigenous Council in 2019, “The Wolf: A Treaty of Cultural and Environmental Survival” embodies ITEK. Over 700 tribes and First Nations in the United States and Canada have signed the treaty and are calling for government-to-government consultation on gray wolf management.

Under the Trump administration, despite overwhelming tribal and public opposition, endangered species protections were removed for gray wolves in the lower 48 states, resulting in the slaughter of 218 wolves in 60 hours in Wisconsin. And Montana and Idaho, where wolves were removed from the legislative list in 2011, recently enacted regulations allowing the culling of 85% and 90% of the wolf populations in those states, respectively.

Recently, a tribal delegation met with officials from within to explain the dire situation gray wolves face and directly called for meaningful consultation, as well as prior and informed consent. These are required by previous executive decrees and UN declarations. The delegation also called for the immediate re-enrollment of gray wolves during the consultation.

“We expect the Biden administration to quickly honor its commitments to meaningful consultation with tribal nations. Time is running out for the gray wolf due to the extreme state management policies currently underway that aim to decimate wolf populations. The direct observations, oral and written knowledge, practices and beliefs of tribal nations regarding wolves have evolved over the millennia and should be fully taken into account in any decision on gray wolf management, ”said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “In the meantime, endangered species protections must be restored for gray wolves so that decades of recovery efforts are not wasted this fall during unethical wolf hunting and trapping seasons in the world. several states. “

“Failure to act quickly would continue this country’s appalling treatment of tribal nations and wolves,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In the face of an ongoing wolf slaughter under new state management policies, the Biden administration must immediately restore endangered species law protections for wolves and begin tribal consultation that should have taken place from the start. “

“We hope that these new commitments from the Biden administration will translate into real engagement with indigenous communities on the recovery, protection and long-term management of wolves and other species,” said Louie Psihoyos, Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society and Academy. award-winning director of Race extinction. “The MoU on ITEK and other commitments to strengthen tribal consultations must mean more than hype, and we are looking for real action.”

“We are encouraged by the recent action of the Biden administration which has renewed its commitment to meaningful consultation with tribal nations and to center traditional ecological knowledge in its decision making,” said Bonnie Rice, senior campaign representative. for the Sierra Club. “The cultural significance of the gray wolf to indigenous peoples means that their voices must be heard regarding the protection and management of wolves, and their calls for the immediate restoration of protections for endangered species must be heard. “

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that the agency is undertaking a formal review of the status of gray wolf populations in the western United States in response to a citizen petition filed under the Endangered Species Act. disappearance. Recognizing the profound threats to wolves posed by the state’s hostile management policies, the Service noted that the petition provided “credible and substantial information that increased human-caused mortality in Idaho and Montana could pose a threat to wolves “in the western United States.

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