Removal of Wyoming’s Gray Wolves from Endangered Species List Final Step in Historic Recovery Across Northern Rockies
Action by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Response to D.C. Appeals Court Ruling Upholding Previous Delisting Determination
April 26, 2017 - Recovery of the gray wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains is one of our nation’s greatest conservation success stories. Today, that success was re-affirmed with the filing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of a notice again delisting the species in the state of Wyoming. Wolves have already been delisted throughout the rest of the Northern Rockies population.
“Our action today delisting the wolf in Wyoming puts the last puzzle piece of Northern Rocky Mountain wolf conservation back in place,” said Acting Service Director Jim Kurth. “The result is a complete picture of success in wolf conservation across the region, restoring management of this recovered population to the state’s wildlife professionals.”
The Service’s action was in response to a final decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturning an earlier U.S. District Court decision vacating the Service’s 2012 delisting rule for Wyoming wolves. The court’s decision recognizes the recovered status of gray wolves and affirms the Service’s determination that the state’s regulatory mechanisms are sufficient for conserving wolves under its authority. The Service will continue to monitor the population for the next five years to ensure recovery criteria are met.
Noreen Walsh, Regional Director for the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region credited the considerable dedication of many partners, particularly the state of Wyoming, in helping recover Northern Rockies wolves.
“It is deeply gratifying that we can officially recognize the strong and diverse partnerships that made the vision of wolf recovery a reality,” said Walsh. “We particularly applaud the efforts of the State of Wyoming in implementing their gray wolf management plan and we are confident that they will continue to execute this plan moving forward. Their continued commitment to managing wolves will ensure we maintain a robust, stable and self-sustaining population into the future.”
The Service will be working closely with the State of Wyoming to transition wolf management post delisting. Meanwhile, the state’s annual wolf numbers reveal an enduring healthy population, with approximately 377 wolves in 52 packs with 25 breeding pairs. The Northern Rocky Mountain population as a whole continues to be self-sustaining, with numbers well above federal management objectives. Wolves have continued to expand their range westward into Oregon, Washington, northern California and Nevada.