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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Extinct Means Safe Forever

Written by PETA | April 1, 2008

Does anyone else find it a bit depressing that everyone breaks out the party balloons after an animal gets taken off the Endangered Species list, when all it really means is that people can start the killing again? So it goes with the Gray Wolf, who now needs to start watching his back following an announcement that he’s no longer in imminent danger of extinction. Now that he’s off the list, he can once again be shot by ranchers who are protecting their flocks so they can kill them on their own time.

I’ve always thought that the “save endangered species” stuff was kind of a selfish notion at its core — as if we suddenly realized that the animals we’ve royally screwed over for generations actually enriched our lives just by being around, which apparently means that it’s time to panic for a few years and put them on a “safe list” until there are enough that we can start killing them again…

Anyway, the point is that the Gray Wolf is officially no longer on the Endangered Species List — but given the way we’ve treated these animals in the past and will now continue to treat them, I’m not sure I really feel like celebrating. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments — I’d love to hear people’s opinions on this one.

Update: It looks like Environmental Graffiti had a similar mixed reaction to the news.

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  • Antigone1000 says:

    To any “humanitarian” who wants children I suggest you adopt. That is the most humane thingit limits the population AND gives a home to a child who would otherwise have nothing. Oh waitlet me guess. Your genes are too fantastic not to be passed on. Rightyou are all into being humane and caring all about humans but you don’t really want to do anything more to help humans than you do to help animals if it means causing you to give up one of your selfish desires.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Hi Kurt! I think what Holly was saying was not against any certain individual parent but rather to point out that our Earth is having a hard time supporting all the humans and it’s becoming toxic as a result. Every person has the right to have children! But for example my next door neighbors refuse to use birth control because they are very religious. They have become frustrated with their 7 kids and one time they even left their newborn baby outside in the dead of winter for several minutes because she wouldn’t stop crying. If folks like that would just be reasonable and use birth control after 2 or 3 kids I don’t see how that’s too much to ask. Of course it’s our choice we humans can do whatever we want to the Earth but why not try to be kind to it instead?

  • Kurt K says:

    Holly you keep saying that Humans are so over popolated. Does that mean you don’t have or are not going to have any children in the future? Are you going to be the one that tells your neighbor they can’t bare children? Is the next protest going to be at hospital pediatric wards? I for one have faith in my fellow Man. Except for a few lost individuals I believe most people are good at heart and want only what is the best for their families!

  • Tabitha says:

    Have you checked out the laws in the areas concerning these species? I live in an area where bald eagles nest every winter. I am serious as I can be you will get in more trouble and pay more money for scaring an eagle out of a tree with noise than if you robbed someone’s house. BTW Holly turn on CNN. The human race is trying it’s best to exterminate itself.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Heather Great point I’m a grad student of conservation biology. I passionately agree with you about wildlife conservation. The captive breeding programs though and reintroduction have their drawbacks. The Colorado DOW was concerned about C. Lynx populations in their state the lynx were being hit by cars shot starving and becoming ill. So the CDOW transplanted Lynx from the Yukon to Colorado. Guess what happened to the reintroduced lynx shot hit by cars starved died of illness. They had seen a native lynx die off in the same habitat. Why did they introduce more? 38 percent of the introduced lynx died. 72 in all. 42 wolf pups in Yellowstone died of parvo after adults were introduced there. I am not against augmentation but reintroducing hundreds of animals to a habitat has too many stochastic elements. Also breeding in captivity does not allow for natural selection to take place. As you can see this is a real pet peeve for me. So as a fellow biologist I just thought I’d share what I’ve learned. But otherwise I share your view on this post a bit outrageous.

  • Holly says:

    Maya asked a question then stated a fact. Right or wrong PETA does not support no kill shelters and does believe in euthanasia. Some agree with this others disagree. Some donate moneys to Farm SanctuaryFARM Farm Animal Reform Movement PETA American Vegan Society AVSDogs Deserve Better The North American Vegetarian Society and many other. We are all working for the same thing and dont all agree its ok…in the long run the Animals Win as a result of all of us caring.

  • Holly says:

    I dont think anyone wants extinction of any living thing. Except maybe things like Small Pox…and MERCA etc. We should understand why things are happening and try to fix things if we can. Understand our world history. Our very world is in very real trouble here. Every living thing is in danger! We are smart enough to know we cant save everything history shows us that but we want to save what we can. and why attack Maya she is very right in what she says as are others here…this is an open debate on a topic that effects each of us and is worth debating with wise open minded people so we can learn and understand and hopefully make a difference for the good of all and our earth.

  • Spay and neuter immediately, please says:

    Uhoh Maya forgot to take her medication again….

  • Heather says:

    So you WANT species to become extinct?! Some animal lovers you are. But then again with your skewed opinions on wildlife conservatories and captive breeding programs for such endangered species it’s no surprise. “Total Animal Liberation” or “Total Animal Annihilation”? And before you ask I am a marine biologist and environmental scientist.

  • Holly says:

    Extinct Means Gone Forever

  • Tamara says:

    God PETA sometimes I hate you for making me think… You are so right…the endangered list is a joke it’s better for these animals to be on there. Hunting for sport…well I agree with vegacoin “Hunting is such a macho headtrip it is outmoded it is archaic it is barbaric. And there is no reason for it at all. ” I really can’t phrase it any better…

  • Holly says:

    That’s true vegancoin. People hunt the Gray Wolf because the feel that the Wolf endangers livestock. So lets all eat veganvegetarian and be kind to all animals.

  • vegancoin says:

    Hunting is such a macho headtrip it is outmoded it is archaic it is barbaric. And there is no reason for it at all.

  • Holly says:

    Based on analysis of the fossil record researchers estimate that most species on Earth have an overall life span of about 10 million years. It’s an ongoing cycle of plants animals and microscopic organisms appearing in the fossil record remaining for about 10 million years and disappearing. Most likely this is the natural state of life on Earth regardless of exactly what species are alive. However live forms are dying out much faster today than they appear to at any point in the fossil record. The rate of extinction is somewhere between one and five species per year. But today the extinction rate appears to be anywhere from 100 to 1000 times greater than that source Holsinger. Exact numbers are hard to pin down. No one knows exactly how many species are alive on Earth today. On top of that it can be difficult to impossible to determine whether a plant or animal has died out. Even after exhaustive searches researchers have declared some animals extinct only to find new specimens later.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Not making a comment one way or the other but here is an interesting factoid from PBS Scientists say that only one in a thousand species that have ever lived survives today. The other 99.9 percent are extinct gone forever.

  • Holly says:

    The history of life involves competition among species with new species evolving and old ones dying out. I remember a poster that was going around in the 60′s that said something like take a picture of the deer the fox the forest the rabbit etc. now because your children’s children wont know that they excited with out the pictures and storys passed down to them. How sad. Its Human Over Population pushing animals off their home lands forests and streams then if they are still alive after that humans kill them. Global warming human over population bad conservation of the land air and water ways will and is kill out many specie maybe even humans. We do what we can to save what and who we can but the times they are a changing and a new world is evolving. Who knows it may bring a better wiser world. I hope so.

  • Hannah says:

    Jack truly thank you for bringing this up. it is a very very important issue that needs to be met head on. really i think that we should make ALL animal cruelty illegal. more than illegal! sure i know it says in the Christian Bible that food is meant to be eaten but NOT LIKE THIS. and still the hunters want to protect their flocks or herds or whatever but really its the way of life and we’re just killing to stop the killing! same way with wars too. as humans i think we really messed things up and the people left to stand will be the ones to change the world. PETA’s petitions and messages could very well open up peoples minds and hearts to what horrible things we are doing to the animals that have been here so much longer than we have if only they would stop counting their money and LISTEN!!! thank you so much!!!!

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    Pamela L If only all humans and all animals were vegan’s I think it would be close to a almost perfect world. Amen

  • Jay says:

    “I just wish those who torture hunt kill and inflict pain on animals could literally feel the exact intensity of painfear they cause these beautiful creatures.” Right on! I completely agree! Anybody who willingly hurts and tortures animals should suffer the pain they have inflicted times three.

  • Holly says:

    We need to slow human population. If the world was not so packed with humans the land that should belong to the animals would still belong to the animals. We humans messed things up maybe to the point of no return.

  • kelly says:

    The US government is in the Wildlife Killing Business on behalf of private commercial industries They call it “Wildlife Services” I recently found out about this criminal government group httpwww.greenscissors.orgagriculturewsoverview.html Want to know something interesting? A member of this killing services group is named Patti Strand. She also is a pro puppy mill person on the AKC and gets the puppy mill hookups with AKC. Her fanatical pro animal abuse group is called NAIA. The Sheep Industry promoted her as an “animal welfare” member of this Wildlife Services group a few years back. Talk about false pretenses! So this Patti Strand supports dog killing in puppy mills AND wildlife killing. And people like this are who OUR GOVERNMENT works with and supports. It’s like having drug dealers working for US Health Administration.

  • Holly says:

    I think sort of like this Over time as the slender wheatgrass begins to die out other native species begin to fill in the site.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Hmmm…people seem to be taking this quite literally. So is this PETA’s official position? Entire species should be killed off? I suppose it’s not surprising given that PETA approves of euthanasia rather than a good quality nokill shelter. Well I’m very disappointed but it’s up to you. In the meantime people should be aware that allowing actions that kill off species will result in millions of animals suffering torture like line hooks fishing nets pesticide toxins starvation leghold traps thousands of other slow and painful deaths. And the species around them will suffer as well as the diseases will spread and food supplies will vanish. I can’t tell you how many antienvironmental groups and oil corporations will be thrilled to hear that you’ve given them the green light to extinguish all species of wild animals.

  • Pamela L. says:

    I would like to see the number of great wolves stay lowso they remain on the extinction list I hate the thought of them being cruelly hunted because of “statistics” and numbers. On the other hand I realize the law of nature dictates that in order to survive they have to attack and kill their prey. It follows that the number of innocent docile gentle animals that are preyed upon would also be less. I understand that the predators have to eat but I have always also been disturbed about the poor “prey” animals and the thought of them being “ripped” apart by sharp beaks talons and sharp teeth and fangs. Ya folla? In a perfect world predators would be vegetariansthis is coming from a place in me who loves all living breathing creatures and bottom line I can’t stand to see any of them hurt in pain or suffering. To me it’s all about continual CHANGE for a more humane world for the animals!

  • Holly says:

    Just a thought. My brother is an Earth Scientist and I remember him saying that for every species that dies out another begins.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    This goes so deep The Elephants who are being killed in South Africa the great Cats that are in such a decline so many other animals that will soon be taken off the list and hunted once again the great Bison who are once again going to be hunted at Yellowstone reguardless of how we all fought to stop this. I don’t know how I will feel about this next month but for now I vote let the extinction begin. And I say this with tons of tears. But you can’t kill if there is nothing left to kill. Peace!

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Thank you Holly! Well said by J the connection between habitat and the ES list. In my opinion natural habitat should NOT have to have an endangered species on it in order to be protected! If it’s useable habitat that’s it! End of story. It’s left for the wildlife and the next generation not for a Walmart parking lot! Another good point by pangolin breeding in captivity and reintroduciton are dead wrong. As Jack pointed out it is wrong to save a species only for ourselves and that is exactly what we do when we breed in captivity and reintroduce wildlife. HOWEVER there is something in conservation called intrinsic value. Wildlife have ecological value aesthetic value etc etc. But intrinsic conservation value is when an animal has the right to live without having to justify its existence to humans. That is why the ES list is important because it recognizes that it’s not just the individual animal but the species itself has intrinsic value and we don’t have the right to end the species’ existence for any reason. It’s also about stewardship of the Earht.

  • Cali says:

    I was wondering when you guys would mention this. I have been in tears for weeks over this and cannot believe that anyone would kill one of these achingly beautiful creatures. I guess the upside is that once we have killed them all and destroyed their habitat not one wolf will suffer at the hands of a human again.

  • lynda downie says:

    Yeah I feel the same. On one hand I’m thrilled that gray wolves are beginning to thrive again. On the other I’m anxious because just that fact leaves them vulnerable all over again. Wow isn’t that wolf absolutely gorgeous!

  • Caroline says:

    Doesn’t it make you angry when you realize that after all these years of hunting down this animal to the extent that it be considered extinct sudddenly its given the exemption that it won’t be shot anymore? as if we had any right to kill it in the first place! The sad and sardonic part is if these retarded ranchers are not stopped seriously the magnificient Gray Wolf is going to take its place back on the list the extinct list that is. I pray Peta can do something really about this.

  • Canaduck says:

    I’ve always thought the endangered species movement was a joke. Naturally we should attempt to keep animals for going extinct but people love to utilize the concept to justify killing everything else. I can’t count the times I’ve heard idiots say “Yeah I wear fur but it’s not from an endangered species. I mean those people are horrible!” or “Why should I stop eating chickens? We’re not running out of them!” A species cannot suffer. It cannot feel pain. Only individual animals can and they are what count.

  • Sonia says:

    I’ve written this so many times to politiciansgovernment bodies who sign the forms to say who gets killed or not and hand out shooting licences like lollies. Why does something have to be endangered before it holds any value to humans. A lot of money goes in to captive breeding programs for animals that haven’t got any habitat to go back to what is the point. Don’t get me wrong I believe all animals should be left alone to live their lives as they should in the wild. I rehab wildlife myself and find it very hard putting my orphaned kangaroospossums back in to the wild only to find a year later some idiot has a licence to shoot them for no valid reason. There is nowhere safe for anything any more. There are so many experts that condone culling a population of kangaroos because they could potentially starve although they are healthy when they make these decisions and yet humans keep breeding like rabbits and don’t see any of it as their fault are we culling all the people that are starving in the world there are millions of these poor people. As far as I’m concerned the human race is the most invasive species on this earth and will eventually use up all the natural resources before anything is done. It’s going to be a horrible world when the only things left are humans I hope I won’t still be around to see it.

  • Annalena says:

    Good lord. I cried when I saw the news. I work in wolf conservation and they DO need our protection! Wolves are among the most demonized and persecuted of animals throughout history. They do not deserve this image in the least! Have you ever seen the behavior of a wolf family? Its remarkably beautiful! It is rather ironic that so many people pat Fido on the head only to go out and shoot his cousin. Last month one of the dogs I babysit named Jayda was killed in a wolf trap while she was playing with her family in a park during the winterCanada. I was heartbroken and so was her canine companion Phoenix.It breaks my heart to see a wolf shot or trapped the rest of the pack is left in shambles. So much of Canadian wildlife is at risk like our famed Polar Bears and Wolverines culled for fur hats that grace the runways.The gorgeous African Painted dog another social canid is critically endangered.Cowards fly over here to shoot wolves from their helicopters. This in combination with the seal hunt is hard to bear. I cannot say that I am very distressed about the sealers who died in a ship accident recently.

  • trixie says:

    Jack Thank you for pointing out the blatant hypocrisy in the ranchers desire to stop the wolves from killing their flocks so they can do the deed themselves. It’s frustrating living around such idiocy but I am grateful for PETA you and all the others who can see and admit the truth. I couldn’t have said it better! You’re the BEST! trixie

  • thepangolin says:

    Always at the risk of being flamed I am completely anticonservation and sorta proextinction. endangered species lists just make that animal become more prized. if we are crapping up an environment so much that the species are dying then maybe we shoudl let them die. clearly nature cant support them in whatever scrap of land we have left for the moment. pandas in cages being forced to screw dont give a crap about ‘proliferating their species’. they just know their lives suck. hard.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Jack I’ve think you’ve nailed it. The “worth” of a given species only amounts to the worth we as anthropocentric humans apportion to it. Sorry to butt in with seal stuff but… Canadian Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn lies about the Canadian Coast Guard illegally ramming a Sea Shepherd vessel and is trying to censor broadcast of a video taken thereof httpwww.seashepherd.orgnewsmedia0804011.html And a sadly poetic commentary httpwww.seashepherd.orgeditorialseditorial0803281.html

  • Tammy says:

    I totally agree with you Jack now they have the go ahead to start killing them. It’s a very sad thing.

  • Holly says:

    Thank You Maya for explaining this to us. You are very wise and very right.

  • Shane says:

    Why are you people against hunting im a hunter a fisherman and we aint cowerdly if you look at the bigger picture we dont try to make them suffer. Shane

  • J. says:

    Very little protection is given by the endangered species list itself. Even while they were endangered they were still allowed to be hunted in areas like Alaska where they thrived. Rather it is used as a guideline for what resources need to be utilized and type of awareness needs to be spread by those organizations that protect such creatures. Those who have worked to save the gray wolf will now work to protect it’s status continue to counter ignorance and misinformation about it’s perceived “threat to humans” and to relocated surplus wolves to areas once abandoned by them. Of course animal activists realize that it is important to protect all living creatures. However losing a whole species especially a predator is a huge threat to the natural balance of the environment. Other species could boom uncontrollably or die off as a result. It is also important for awareness that these kinds of rankings are made as people who are not Animal Activists will still be sympathetic to an endangered animals cause because it saddens them to think that their own children may never know the joy of perhaps being able to one day see this creature run free and beautiful. I’m sorry Jack but I feel it’s irresponsible to belittle the importance of conservation status and you should have educated yourself further before responding in such a way.

  • Avery says:

    Though you make a strong point at least people realize messed up enough in the first place for there to be an endangered species list. It seems better to have it the way it is than have no list and animals get hunted into extinction.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    By the way having an animal delisted is not usually very ceremonious at all and it does not always increase hunting of the animal. There was an expose on many restaurants in Asia and other areas of the world! that serve endangered species and a delicacy. These species are often more suceptible to poachers because they are considered much more valuable as trophies menu items or pets. However the ES list PROTECTS these species more often than it harms them. Governments will raze entire rainforests pollute rivers devestate natural areas. In the U.S. the ONLY way to protect these areas sometimes is to prove that an endangered species lives there. This affords the habitat long term protection. Living in a Walmart parking lot is no life for a wild animal. My very close friend in grad school is doing her research on gray wolves and she is devestated over this news. It is a scam.

  • Kelley says:

    Typical of our governmentinvest a great deal of time and money trying to save this species after learning how important wolves are to the ecosystem then cave in to a group of ranchers most of whom receive government money and allow the species to be hunted again.

  • Rex's Mom says:

    The gray wolf is being hunted relentlessly in Alaska by heartless hunters who chase them by airplane until they are exhausted then the plane lands and they shoot them point blank. And the new Alaskan governor is all gungho about this. She was even offering $150.00 per pelt which is not a lot of money for a wolf’s life. The people of Alaska have voted on a ballot to stop this aerial hunting and it passed years ago but they are doing it again anyway. Why would they vote for this woman governor who is in favor of killing wolves? In fact the governor of Idaho Butch Otter says he wants to shoot the first wolf himself now that they are no longer endangered. For a man whose surname is that of another animal to say this is beyond cruel. It seems that there are a lot of wolf haters in Idaho Montana and Wyoming and in the White House!

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    Thank you Jack I see a lot clearer now. Peace!

  • Ana says:

    I totally agree!!! And the Gray Wolf bloodbath will resume compliments of your government agencies and the cowardly hunters.

  • Gretchen says:

    This comment doesn’t only pertain to this column but I want to write it anyways I just wish those who torture hunt kill and inflict pain on animals could literally feel the exact intensity of painfear they cause these beautiful creatures.

  • Jaclyn says:

    My comments will be biased because I don’t think anyone should huntkill any animal.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Jack I am so so grateful to you and to PETA for bringing this up. Bless you to the highest. REAL caring biologists don’t rejoice when an animal is taken of the list. They simply look at it as part of the balance we need to maintain. REAL biologists keep an eye on wildlife no matter if they are listed or not!! If a species is endangered it is not just about losing the populations!!! It means that their habitat their Earth is out of balance. Polluiton global warming deforestation poaching hunting the exotic pet trade all cause species to become endangered. When one species goes extinct or becomes endangered the WHOLE ECOSYSTEM is affected. Each species is like an organ in your body. Can you live with a diseased heart kidney or lung? When the ecosystem is diseased every animal suffers. Every animal!! Without healthy habitat without healthy balance life is not worth living for those animals. We want to maintain the balance. To answer your question 1. Wolves are an important predator and should not be shot. 2. If they’re off the list it’s because Bush has lied to the American public bullied Fish and Wildlife and just wants his cronies to be able to bag an exciting “trophy”. Biologists are just as horrified as you are. ps It might surprise you to know most of the wildlife being studied are not endangered. Many many biologists study deer squirrels crows all the time! They do this to understand the animals to protect them from endangerment and to understand how they evolved and how they’re important to the Earth!

  • Molly says:

    The gray wolf will be back on the endangered species list within a matter of months with the way that we kill things….

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