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The grey wolf is considered a “success story” of the Endangered Species Act. It has been successfully reintroduced into areas where we had pushed/hunted it out. But will the wolf populations continue to be successful without federal protection? If their habitat is not protected and ranchers are allowed to kill wolves on their property, will the wolf survive?
This week, we’re going to be holding a debate on this topic! For this debate, you will be taking on the role of a stakeholder, which is an individual or group with a vested interest in the outcome of an action. While pretending that you are a member of one of the groups of stakeholders, you will be debating whether or not to delist wolves from the Endangered Species List.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Read this article to learn about our scenario: For wolves, a Recovery May Not be the Blessing it Seems
Step 2: Watch this video on wolves in Idaho: U.S.: Open Season on Idaho Wolves | The New York Times (Links to an external site.)
Step 3: Pick any one of the following stakeholders. It might be fun to pick one that you completely disagree with. In this exercise, we will not assume that the position you take is your own personal opinion.
Here are the stakeholders to choose from:
Stakeholder 1: You are the Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. You think wolves should remain on the Endangered Species list in the northern Rockies because delisting them will not prevent the species from becoming endangered again.
Stakeholder 2: You are the Director of the State of Wyoming Game and Fish Department. You think wolves should be delisted in the northern Rocky Mountains because the state governments will ensure that wolves continue to thrive in controlled populations. You don’t think the federal government should tell your state what to do.
Stakeholder 3: You’re a rancher who is upset that wolves are killing your livestock. You think wolves should not be protected by any federal mandates at all.
Stakeholder 4: You are an environmentalist and member of the group Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental non-profit organization. You believe that wolves are an integral part of our nation’s wildlife and should be protected at all costs.
Step 4: Introduce yourself to the class and write 1-2 paragraphs stating your initial position argument. Remember that you are pretending to be one of the stakeholders listed above, you aren’t stating your own opinion. Based on what you read in the NY Times article, what arguments do you think your stakeholder would make? What is important to your stakeholder? What actions would your stakeholder like to see the government make? This initial position argument is due on the due date.
Step 5: By Wednesday, write at least one rebuttal to a person who made the case against yours. So if you argued to keep the wolf on the Endangered Species List, you would have to find someone who wanted to delist the wolf. Again, think about how your stakeholder would approach this argument. Remember to challenge their ideas, not their personality. If a person already has 2 replies under their post, find someone else to debate.
Feel free to keep debating after the rebuttal, however please remember to be respectful of others. Even though we are playacting, it’s still possible to offend someone.
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