BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — As a pair of Mexican gray wolves snacked outside an exhibit window, animal advocates gathered at Beardsley Zoo Wednesday to stand against proposed regulations and legislation they say would imperil protections for endangered species.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal joined the group, saying what man does in the wild — and in Washington, D.C. — can have disastrous effects on animals.
“We have a responsibility to ourselves and to the planet,” he said, standing in the Bridgeport zoo’s wolf observation learning facility.
Advocates, including Zoo Director Gregg Dancho, said efforts advancing in Congress would remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list, threatening conservation efforts and undermining critical work to protect the beauty and biodiversity of the environment.
The zoo hopes to one day be able to release Mexican gray wolves, one of the most endangered canine species on Earth, to the wild, as it did with some red wolf pups born at the zoo.
If measures continue to weaken the Endangered Species Act, the only place Americans will be able to see threatened animals will be in zoos, Dancho said.
He urged residents to call their legislators and get involved in social media campaigns to preserve protections for endangered species, such as the Mexican gray wolves.
A rare subspecies of the gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf is extinct in Mexico.
Hundreds of Connecticut constituents have emailed, called and written to Blumenthal in opposition to removing the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list.
Blumenthal anticipated criticism from some residents of Connecticut, which does not have wolves in the wild. He said speaking out for wildlife in Minnesota or Wisconsin will encourage residents there to speak out for Connecticut fauna.
“We are all in this together,” he said. “We learn from the wolves. We learn from all of these animals.”
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