(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and more than 65 bipartisan Members in sending a letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging him to withdraw a politically motivated proposal to delist gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act. The Members voiced concerns over the science underlying the proposal and highlighted that while gray wolves have made strides in the recovery process, populations continue to struggle in regions of the United States with suitable habitat. The Members argued that delisting would harm not only gray wolf recovery efforts, but also those of other endangered species across the country. The comment period for the proposal ends on July 14.

They wrote:

“We are writing to voice our deep concerns with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to end federal protections for gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposal does not appear to represent the best available science and contains several serious legal flaws that undermine not only the recovery of gray wolves, but hundreds of other endangered species nationwide.  This delisting proposal appears to be motivated primarily by political pressure rather than the best available science, and we urge you to withdraw the proposed rule.

“Humans pose a far greater threat to wolves than wolves pose to us. U.S. Department of Agriculture reports show that the primary causes of cattle and sheep deaths in the U.S. are health problems, weather, theft and other maladies, but not wolves or other native carnivores. In fact, a 2014 and 2015 inventory of cattle and sheep found that less than one percent (0.4 percent) died from any type of carnivore, including coyotes, domestic dogs, and cougars. There are also a host of highly effective non-lethal solutions that livestock growers can use to protect their herds. Additionally, no human has ever been killed by a wild wolf in the lower 48 states.

“Gray wolf recovery in the lower 48 states is a wildlife success story in the making, and we encourage the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue to work towards recovery of this iconic American species.  Specifically, we ask that the Service continue to protect wolves under the ESA.”

A signed copy of the letter can be found here.