WASHINGTON, June 7, 2013 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from the list of threatened and endangered species. The proposal comes after a comprehensive review confirmed its successful recovery following management actions undertaken by federal, state and local partners. The wolf was listed under the Endangered Species Act over three decades ago. The Service is also proposing to maintain protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest, where it remains endangered.
Under the proposal, state wildlife management agency professionals would resume responsibility for management and protection of gray wolves in states where wolves occur. The proposed rule is based on the best science available and incorporates new information about the gray wolf’s current and historical distribution in the contiguous United States and Mexico. It focuses the protection on the Mexican wolf, the only remaining entity that warrants protection under the Act, by designating the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies.
In the Western Great Lakes and Northern Rocky Mountains, the gray wolf has rebounded from the brink of extinction to exceed population targets by as much as 300 percent. Gray wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct and Western Great Lakes Population Segments were removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2011 and 2012.
“From the moment a species requires the protection of the Endangered Species Act, our goal is to work with our partners to address the threats it faces and ensure its recovery,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “An exhaustive review of the latest scientific and taxonomic information shows that we have accomplished that goal with the gray wolf, allowing us to focus our work under the ESA on recovery of the Mexican wolf subspecies in the Southwest.”
The Service will open a 90-day comment period on both proposals seeking additional scientific, commercial and technical information from the public and other interested parties.
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership President Whit Fosbaugh called the restoration of the gray wolf a "conservation success story." "[T]he federal government made the right decision in delisting the species – a decision that is based in sound science and achieves long-term goals for wolf management," he said.
More information on the comment process can be found here.
More information on the delisting proposal can be found here.
This story was updated at 4:40pm.
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