SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR BABBIT ANNOUNCES HISTORIC COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT BETWEEN NASA AND THE U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE.
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5, 1995. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit called a press conference today to announce the implementation of a new cooperative agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Secretary Babbit called the agreement an historic step towards successful implementation of Reinventing Government, Stage II, that has been developed by the Clinton Administration.
Under the terms of the new agreement, packs of wolves, imported from Canada, will be introduced into several NASA centers. In particular, the NASA research and spaceflight centers at Goddard (Greenbelt, MD), Marshal (Huntsville, AL), Johnson (Houston, TX), and Ames (Moffett Field, CA) have been targeted. "Wolves are an endangered species that need special protection to allow their populations to increase," said Babbit. "Private landowners have objected to releasing wolves in National Parks, fearing that they will wander onto private lands and attack livestock. This agreement represents an innovative compromise that will allow the wolves to prosper in areas where the public will have no objection to their presence."
The Administrator of NASA, Daniel Goldin was present at the Department of Interior press conference. When asked for his reaction to the plan, Goldin said, "NASA is undergoing unprecedented downsizing in response to the desire on the part of the Clinton Administration and the U.S. Congress to reduce the size and cost of the Federal Government. This agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service will introduce ecologically sound management practices that will replace the 'business as usual' approach to personnel issues at NASA. Federal agency work forces are no different than overpopulated herds of deer or elk in our country today. We, too, need to thin the herds," said Goldin.
Secretary Babbit interrupted Mr. Goldin to reassure NASA employees that the vast majority of them would be unaffected by wolf pack predation. "Keep in mind that wolves tend to prey mostly on the weak and slow," Babbit said. "Most NASA employees can move pretty fast and stay out of harm's way. If you keep alert and show no fear, chances are the wolves will leave you alone. Our wildlife experts tell me that 95% of the NASA employees will be unaffected by wolf predation in an average year."
An information brochure, entitled "Adapt or Die," will be distributed to all NASA employees. The brochure explains the ecological basis for this new management policy. It also points out that there are severe penalties for harming endangered wolves, even in self-defense. It says, "Keep in mind that humans are not an endangered species and, therefore, lack protection under the law."