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Western Caucus Applauds Delisting of the Gray Wolf

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): “This is a huge win for the American people! The gray wolf was first placed on the endangered species list in 1976 and has made one of the most successful recoveries in history. In 2013, the Obama Administration’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that the gray wolf population was no longer in danger and tried to issue a proposed rule to remove the gray wolf as a nationally listed endangered species. However, extremist obstructionist groups like the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity prevented this administrative action. For years they have gone against the science and facts, instead electing to file litigation that benefited their financial self-interests at the expense of the taxpayer and American cattleman and ranchers. This proposed rule is long overdue. I applaud the work of Acting Secretary Bernhardt who continues to prove that he is a voice for America’s heartland and a voice for local communities.”


Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service unveiled a proposed rule to remove the gray wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the lower 48 states as a result of a full recovery of the species. Management of the species will now be the responsibility of individual states and tribes.

An estimated 7,000 to 11,200 gray wolves live in Alaska and another 60,000 live in Canada. There are now more than 5,000 gray wolves in the lower 48 states.

In 1978, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first listed the gray wolf as an endangered species in the contiguous U.S. with the exception of Minnesota where the wolf was listed as threatened.

The Obama Administration attempted to remove the gray wolf from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the lower 48 states in 2013, publishing a proposed rule to delist the gray wolf after finding that the “best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the currently listed entity is not a valid species under the Act.

The Obama Administration also proposed removing protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin in 2011.

The Obama Administration’s 2013 and 2011 proposals were challenged with frivolous lawsuits from extremist organizations who don’t rely on science or facts and seek to fundraise by keeping species on the Endangered Species Act in perpetuity, regardless of merits and findings that an individual species have been recovered.

The Obama Administration removed Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Wyoming, a decision was upheld in 2017.

Courtesy of the Department of the Interior

The gray wolf, an iconic species of the American West, had all but disappeared from landscape in the lower 48 states by the early 20th century. Now it roams free in nine states and is stable and healthy throughout its current range. This constitutes one of the greatest comebacks for an animal in U.S. conservation history. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is re-affirming the success of this recovery with a proposal to remove all gray wolves from protection under Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Thanks to the partnerships involving states, tribes, conservation organizations and private landowners galvanized under the ESA, the Service is now able to propose turning management of all gray wolves back to the states and tribes who have been so central to the species’ recovery. This proposal excludes Mexican gray wolves, which would remain listed under the ESA.

The Service’s proposal to delist the gray wolf throughout the contiguous United States will be open for public comment in the Federal Register beginning on March 15, 2019. Comments must be received within 60 days of publication until May 14, 2019. All comments will be posted HERE. This generally means any personal information provided through the process will be posted.

Information on the proposed rule and how to comment is found HERE.

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