The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today announced the final delisting rule for gray wolves in the Lower 48 states. In 2019, FWS proposed lifting the endangered status of most wolves in the Lower 48 states, leaving federal protections in place for a small population of Mexican wolves in the Southwest. Today’s announcement paves the way for state wildlife agencies to once again resume management of wolves, marking their successful departure from Endangered Species Act protections.
The Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (SAF) has long sought the delisting of recovered wolves and has been a leading advocate both in litigation to defend wolf delisting decisions, and through legal petitions and comments to the agency. Over the past four decades, wolf populations across the country have rebounded sharply, far surpassing established recovery goals, thereby dictating the need to move forward with more active management strategies.
“Returning management of wolves to state wildlife agencies is yet another conservation milestone made possible by the tireless efforts of many conservation partners, and demonstrates the critical importance of the North American Model of Wildlife Management,” said Evan Heusinkveld, Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation president and CEO. “Wolf recovery and delisting is yet another conservation milestone that should be widely celebrated and acknowledged.”
As always, the key for a successful delisting is to scientifically defend the delisting decision in the court against lawsuits brought by extreme animal-rights organizations. This is not easy; over the past decade, SAF has participated in delisting case after delisting case.
“Animal-rights and anti-hunting groups will undoubtedly again rush into court to try and stop this decision instead of relying upon the expertise of the professionals at the Fish and Wildlife Service. However, the science is settled, populations of wolves in the Lower 48 states have recovered and are thriving,” said Heusinkveld Today’s announcement is the culmination of more than four decades of work by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, state fish & game departments, conservation organizations and sportsmen.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.