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Gray Wolves in the Northern Rockies

A wolf in Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

Back in June, Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said, “I don’t have second thoughts” about the agency’s proposal to drop Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across most of the United States.

Here are five reasons why Director Ashe, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and President Obama should most definitely think twice about this proposal:

Alyssa Grayson.

There’s something so wonderfully refreshing about the direct and earnest way kids comment on the world around them. They don’t have the snark of so many online personalities, nor the posturing language of the politician always walking the line. Kids are still filled with clear-eyed wonder. Their observations tend to cut straight to the heart of the matter without assumptions and with a natural sense of justice.

In Wyoming, wolves that were federally protected on Sept. 30 became legal vermin overnight—subject to being shot on sight in approximately 90 percent of the state as of Oct. 1. In the remaining 10 percent of Wyoming, wolf hunting season opened for the first time since the gray wolf was eradicated from the state in the early 1900s. Fifty-two wolves are expected to be killed in the “trophy zone” hunting season and dozens more in the free-fire “predator zone” over the coming weeks.

The uplifting movie Big Miracle, opening this weekend, has the power to educate people across the country about America’s Arctic Ocean, along with the people and wildlife that call it home.

This is the same place Royal Dutch Shell is planning to drill in our Arctic waters this summer—with no viable method to clean up an oil spill in these extreme conditions. And President Obama has the power to stop them.

(This is the second in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Dan Fagre is a research ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey who has spent 15 years working to understand how climate change will affect mountain ecosystems like those found in the Crown. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature.)

<Editor's Note: Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen has released a statement about the organization's continuing efforts to protect the gray wolf.>

The fate of gray wolves—and of the Endangered Species Act itself—may be voted on at any time in the climax of an historic struggle in Congress over budgeting and political philosophy.

News headlines last week prominently featured both music (the Grammy Awards rolled out their red carpet) and the environment (the GOP’s proposed spending legislation steamrolled through the House, nearly crushed under the weight of riders and amendments seeking to rollback many environmental and public health gains of the past several years).

What readers may not be aware of is that in two smaller stories, the environment weighed in on music: