Great Lakes Gray Wolves' Spot Safe On Endangered Species List - For Now

A gray wolf moves through forested country in winter

In an amicus brief filed in support of the federal government's action, the state argued the wolf population has exceeded its federal recovery goals for more than 25 years, and that the wolf is utilizing most of its available suitable range. In the last season, hunters killed 154 wolves.

Congressional Republicans and some Democrats are now working on legislation to force the FWS to again delist the Great Lakes gray wolf and make sure the courts can not undo the decision. One year later, federal protections were removed, allowing people to hunt wolves.

The decision keeps in place current rules surrounding wolves, and blocks states from asserting management control over the species, including the implementation of hunting seasons.

The States of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and trophy hunting groups participated in the rulemaking process and also in this extensive the litigation in the courts, but they are now seeking assistance from Congress to legislatively remove wolves from the endangered species list.

Gray Wolf, Northern Ontario Canada.

August 1, 2017 - Federal Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit affirms judgment vacating the December 28, 2011 final rule (holding that FWS fatally failed to reasonably analyze or consider the impacts of partial delisting to the remaining portion of the species, and the impacts of historical range loss).

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) sued over the decision, and in 2014 a federal district court ruled against the delisting effort.

Under the ruling, hunting and trapping of gray wolves may no longer be permitted by Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Regulators in 2011 delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and MI and parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and OH, arguing that the populations there were "significant" and that disease and humans did not pose a threat to the wolves. "The wolf is an important part of our state and nation's ecology and culture", said Maureen Hackett, president of Minnesota-based Howling For Wolves, in a statement.

"The second highest court in the nation reaffirmed that we must do much more to recover gray wolves before declaring the mission accomplished", said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The ruling comes after years of debate, as well as decades of disagreements over the size and management of the wolf population.

"That's good news", said Niskanen.

Tedrowe argues wolves should be protected not only because they haven't recovered to their historic range or numbers, but she said they are invaluable to the ecosystem.

The same court took wolves in Wyoming off the endangered list in May.

Supporters of wolf delisting - namely livestock and hunting groups and rural lawmakers - say the animals have become too plentiful and are causing trouble. But another court challenge forced the government to reverse itself. A federal trial court sided with the nonprofit the following year, which meant the wolves went back on the protected list.

The appeals court rejected the society's arguments that wolves are still threatened by humans and disease and that state management plans wouldn't safeguard them. "They shouldn't be trying to do science from the legislative branch".


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