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Grey wolves - Removal from the Endangered Species List



Grey Wolf, Courtesy of Gunnar Ries

In the months previous to President Obama taking office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final ruling to strip Grey Wolves of protection under the Endangered Species Act in the northern Rocky Mountains and
Midwest. Three previous attempts taken by the service to de-list or down grade the endangered gray wolf have all been remanded by federal courts, but in March of this year, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved the Bush Administration's plan to eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for Grey Wolves in the Greater Yellowstone states.  On May 4, 2009 the wolves will be moved to the federal registrar and will lose all protection provided by the Endangered Species Act in this region.

Historically, The Fish and Wildlife Service have been responsible for the extermination of wolves throughout much of the 20th century on behalf of the livestock industry. The Grey Wolf was placed under the protections of the 1973 Endangered Species Act and its numbers grew significantly after the 1995 and 1996 reintroduction of wolves to
YellowstoneNational Park and central

The current de-listing puts the current population at great risk because the wolf is considered a predatory animal and can be killed on the spot in most of the de-regulated area. Many biologists believe that the current population of close to 2,000 wolves in the area is an insufficient breeding stock. Studies indicate that, at a minimum, hundreds of breeding animals are necessary to maintain population viability without debilitating genetic problems.

Groups against the de-listing ask that two goals be met to accommodate de-listing the Grey wolf from the endangered species list:

1) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs a de-listing plan based on current science that guarantees a minimum wolf population level that is both sustainable and genetically connected.


2) All of the states in the de-listing area must have wolf management regulations that provide for a sustainable and well connected wolf population.

To read more about the delisting as well as what you can do as an active part of the population, please visit: Defenders of Wildlife