Nearly two decades after their populations were reestablished, grey wolves may be delisted as an endangered species, meaning protection would be lifted in the 48 contiguous states. Restored to western states after being hunted to extinction, wolves now number in the thousands. The Los Angeles Times obtained a document that outlined the intent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list.
“…their presence has always drawn protests across the Intermountain West from state officials, hunters and ranchers who lost livestock to the wolves. They have lobbied to remove the gray wolf from the endangered list.
“Once those protections end, the fate of wolves is left to individual states. The species is only beginning to recover in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. California is considering imposing its own protections after the discovery of a lone male that wandered into the state’s northern counties from Oregon two years ago.”
An official decision from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected within weeks. About 75 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico are expected to be exempt from the delisting.
Photo by: John and Karen Hollingsworth, Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service