Fish and Wildlife proposes removing ESA protections for gray wolf   2 comments

Fish and Wildlife proposes removing ESA protections for gray wolf

Despite a rumored momentary hold, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has formally announced its proposal to delist the gray wolf in all areas of the contiguous United States except for the southwestern wolf recovery area.

Media attention on the proposal drew both praise and criticism from various interest groups and individuals.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) expressed support for USFWS’ proposal to delist the gray wolf. However, the livestock associations want Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest to also be delisted. 

“We appreciate USFWS’ recognition that the gray wolf is recovered,” NCBA President and Wyoming rancher Scott George stated. “But it’s also time to end the unwarranted listing of the Mexican wolf. Wolf depredation threatens ranchers’ livelihoods and rural communities, as well as the economies relying on a profitable agricultural industry.” 

In a letter to USFWS Director Dan Ashe, 16 scientists representing varying fields of study, including one wolf biologist, expressed their opposition to the delisting announcement. In the letter, dated May 21, the group urged USFWS to reconsider its proposal and specified four concerns with the action:

  • The proposal prevents future wolf populations in areas of adequate habitat such as parts of California and the Northeast.
  • The draft rule fails to delineate the protected area for Mexican gray wolf recovery.
  • USFWS’ acknowledgement that more research needs to be done regarding the designation of Canis lycaon as a distinct species in the United States goes without next steps.
  • Wolves in the Pacific Northwest whose origin is from British Columbia are not considered a distinct population segment.

USFWS will open a 90-day comment period during which information will be reviewed and addressed in the final determination of the proposal, which is expected to occur in early 2014. The comment period is expected to open this week.

Providing feedback during the public comment period allows interested individuals and groups to be involved in this public process. Additionally, if you or your group would like to request a public hearing in your region, USFWS will take requests in writing within 45 days of the proposal’s publication in the Federal Register.

UPDATE: The two proposed rules will publish in the Federal Register on June 13, 2013. The Fish and Wildlife Service will be accepting public comments for 90 days immediately following publication, through 11:59 p.m. on September 11, 2013. Guidance on how to provide comment is provided in Addresses section of each proposed rule. Please visit to view all Federal Register notices, and to submit an electronic comment.

Related links

Public comment information
NCBA and PLC press release
Letter from 16 Scientists to USFWS Director Dan Ashe

2 responses to “Fish and Wildlife proposes removing ESA protections for gray wolf

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  1. Pingback: Wolves…. | Sunset Daily

  2. Pingback: Mexican gray wolf shot, killed in NM | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

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