Wildlife Officials Ask Feds To Remove Gray Wolf From Endangered List

Opponents Say Most Scientists Oppose Delisting Gray Wolf

gray wolf
Anders Illum (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A group of wildlife biologists sent a letter to federal officials calling for the gray wolf to be removed from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes region.

Twenty-six biologists and scientists signed the letter to the U.S. secretary of the interior and head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Adrian Wydeven, the former state Department of Natural Resources wolf biologist and Timber Wolf Alliance Coordinator, was among them. He said they support an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that put wolves back on the endangered species list last year. He said Congress has the power to decide their fate.

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“Just want to let them know that many of us feel wolves have recovered and they should be a state-managed species at this point,” said Wydeven.

However, opponents of delisting said more scientists support protection for wolves and point to the decline of their historic range. Melissa Tedrowe, Wisconsin state director for the Humane Society of the U.S., said the vast majority of scientists support the wolf’s protection.

“The best available science indicates that the gray wolf occupies a mere fraction of its historic range,” said Tedrowe. “We’re going to do all we can to keep them on that list and keep them protected.”

Two Republican congressman, including Sen. Ron Johnson, introduced a bill last week to remove wolves’ protected status in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming.

The Fish and Wildlife Service did appeal a December 2014 ruling in the Great Lakes case, as well as a September 2014 ruling in a Wyoming wolf case, another decision that reinstated federal protections to the wolves. Both appeals are in briefing in the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals.

Decisions in these appeals aren’t expected until the middle of next year.