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In a most untypical move two legislators used the Congressional budget rider to remove wolves from the Endangered Species List, a process that until this time was typically done by a federal, non-political, science based agency. This action sets a new precedent for altering the Endangered Species List based on political influence.  The two legislators, Representative Mike Simpson, a Republican from Idaho, and Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat sponsored the removal.  Both Idaho and Montana have vested interests in seeing the wolves removed from the list.  Ranchers and hunters have complained that the wolves are eating into their livestock and have reduced the elk and deer from hunting.  Prior to this action federal courts had blocked both states from culling the wolves.  The number of wolves compared to elk and deer do not a signify a significant threat to these prey animals.  For example, there are roughly 150 wolves in the entire state of Montana.  There are over 3,000,000 cattle, and just within the boundaries of Yellowstone there are 15,000 elk.  This does not include the 160,000 elk that freely roam Montana.  Wolves as a predatory species cull the weak and sick elk from the herds.  One pack will eat one elk per week, or other species in the park.  Elk in Yellowstone have devastated the natural flora because of over grazing due to the size of their herds.  When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone they brought the number of elk back down to their proper levels that the park could sustain.  The wolves initially expanded because there were so many elk, but now their own populations have dropped in response to the lower number of elk.  Wolves play an important role in maintaining a proper eco system.  This backdoor move by congress in altering the Endangered Species Act must be retracted in the next budgetary vote.

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