More than 45 years after gray wolves were first protected, as populations have recovered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is delisting the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). State and tribal wildlife management agency professionals will resume responsibility for sustainable management and protection of delisted gray wolves in states where wolves occur. The Service based its final determination to remove all gray wolves from the list of ESA-protected species on the best science available, including the latest information about the wolf’s current and historical distribution in the contiguous United States. This final rule excludes Mexican wolves, which remain listed under the ESA.
“Today’s action reflects the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to species conservation based on sound science and facts,” said David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Interior. “After over 45 years as a listed species, the gray wolf has greatly exceeded all conservation goals for recovery. By delisting the gray wolf today, we can return management of wolf populations to the states.”
“I’m very appreciative of the Trump administration’s timely transfer of the management responsibility of the gray wolf back to the states. We look forward to working with organizations within our state to implement the state of Utah’s Wolf Management Plan,” says Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Commissioner Logan Wilde.
The best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the currently listed wolves are recovered and no longer meet the ESA definitions of a threatened species or an endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already delisted gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains, where a healthy and sustainable population roams across Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and eastern portions of Oregon and Washington. These states have since managed this delisted population effectively and responsibly. Wolves have even expanded into western Oregon, western Washington, northern California and most recently in northwest Colorado.
The gray wolf final delisting determination is based on sound science, a thorough analysis of threats and how they have been alleviated, and the ongoing commitment and proven track record of states and tribes to continue managing for healthy wolf populations once delisted.
The Service will monitor the species for five years post-delisting to ensure the continued success of the species. This final rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. For more information, visit: https://www.fws.gov/home/wolfrecovery/.