The sweeping rule by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would eliminate protection for wolves 18 years after the government reestablished the predators in the West, where they had been hunted to extinction. Their reintroduction was a success, with the population growing to the thousands.
Scientists and conservationists who reviewed the plan said its reasoning is flawed. They challenged how the agency would reconfigure the classification of wolf subspecies and its assertion that little habitat remains for wolves.
Mike Jimenez, who manages wolves in the northern Rockies for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said delisting in that region underscored a “huge success story.” He said that while wolves are now legally hunted in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, the federal agency continues to monitor pack populations and can reinstate protections should numbers reach levels that biologists consider to be dangerously low.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to release its decision to delist the wolves in coming weeks and it could become final within a year. Brent Lawrence, a Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman said Thursday that the agency would not comment. The proposed rule is technically a draft until it is entered into the Federal Register.
For a history of Gray Wolves and their recovery click here. Continue reading 'U.S. Plans to Drop Gray Wolves From Endangered List'»