Gray wolves will no longer be listed as “endangered.”
Gray wolves will be taken off the endangered species list, it was announced on Thursday, October 29, and this will go into effect in late December. The US Forest and Wildlife Service will monitor their status for at least the first five years afterwards for accurate statistical analysis on their position at that time.
This news was previously reported by NPR.
“Today’s action reflects the Trump administration’s continued commitment to species conservation based on the parameters of the law and the best scientific and commercial data available,” US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a press release.
Gray wolves range within the northern areas of the mainland 48 states from Washington State down to Northern California and Colorado, eastward to Michigan and Wisconsin, and here at Dog O’Day we’ve previously covered re-introduction efforts by Minnesota Vet Med in repopulating once-familiar lands.
Despite their wide range of habitat, which has drawn the praise of governors Kristi Noem (South Dakota) and Pete Ricketts (Nebraska), other concerned humans aren’t convinced this ruling will work out well.
“This is no ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment for wolf recovery,” Kristen Boyles, an attorney for the environmental law-specialty practice Earthjustice, told NPR. “Wolves are only starting to get a toehold in places like Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, and wolves need federal protection to explore habitat in the Southern Rockies and the Northeast.”
This is the latest part of at least 80 environmental de-regulations by the current president on an array of issues during his term, which began in 2017.
All gray wolves were granted protected status with the passing of the Endangered Species Act of 1978, and they began a slow re-introduction process to Yellowstone National Park beginning in 1995, which the PBS documentary series Nature had an amazing episode about.
In the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, numbers are booming enough that some hunting of wolves is allowed, which is part of the complicated balance of humanity trying to regulate the natural order while remaining involved.
To some extent, hunting nuisance animals is understandable, as it can provide sustenance in the form of meat, as well as protecting livestock and/or humans, in addition to long serving as a primarily-masculine form of developing friendships. And of course many breeds of hunting dogs of play an important role in either pointing out, capturing or retrieving the quarry, which in turn leads to humorous novels like Bill Wallace’s The Backward Bird Dog.
On the other hand, many other people are opposed to hunting, either because they dislike firearms or can’t tolerate cruelty to animals, even if they’re wild ones as opposed to domestic pets. (I fall into this category, mainly because of repeated viewings of the overlooked dog movie classic The Fox and the Hound).
The import of this decision on gray wolves and their habitats is yet to be determined, though like most political issues, how much and where when it comes to wildlife conservation efforts won’t be solved quickly and there will be much disagreement before an outcome is reached.