NCEAS review panel finds that FWS wolf delisting rule is based on uncertain science
Conclusion echoes earlier comments by SCB and the American Society of Mammalogists
An independent panel of experts, commissioned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to review the FWS's proposed rule to delist the gray wolf (link), has found that the proposal is not based on "best available science". The peer review panel's report, which was organized by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), was particularly critical of the FWS's conclusion that wolves inhabiting eastern Canada and the United States were a separate species (Canis lycaon), rather than a subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus). This distinction is important because the FWS based the proposed removal of eastern wolves from the list of endangered species on their finding that the animals were not gray wolves. The US Endangered Species Act requires that listing and delisting decisions be based "solely on best available scientific and commercial data".
The critical comments of the NCEAS panel echo earlier comments by Society for Conservation Biology from 2007 and 2010, as well as more recent comments from the American Society of Mammalogists (link).
The issue has larger significance for SCB because of our organization's focus on promoting scientific integrity in agency decisions related to biodiversity conservation and management.
More information on the story can be found in Science magazine: link.