Gray wolves to leave endangered list. By Matthew Brown. AP

The Department of Interior is announcing the delisting of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies and will do so soon in the Great Lakes.

Normally the recovery of an endangered species is a cause for celebration, and that’s because normally the states don’t then quickly announce a “hunting season” to greatly reduce the numbers of the the species that was listed because its numbers were too low. The Bald Eagle is being removed from the list, and no one is proposing a hunting season on it.

Unfortunately, with the wolf, all those old ideas dragged out of Europe in the 15th century, and hanging over in parts of the West from the 1890s, are still present. These are the very same ideas that put the wolf close the extermination in the first place.

Probably the best think people can do around the country right now, is to contact their member of Congress and complain. It really is a new Congress, and people with a different attitude are in charge. They should also call, email or write to their state governors and letters to the newspapers. I think ballot initiatives may be in order. It is hard to get enough names, but if there is money behind an initiative in many states getting it on the ballot is almost guaranteed. I would not be surprised if some wealthy people step forward and offer to help.

New article on the delisting to be formally announced on Monday. Wolf Delisting Plan Due Next Week. By Bill Schneider. New West.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

17 Responses to Gray wolves to leave endangered list

  1. Alan says:

    The big bad wolf myth of children’s literature persists to this day. It reminds me of people’s persistent misunderstanding of snakes. I watched a woman literally hammer a beautiful (and pregnant) milk snake after the serpent showed up on her driveway. She said she thought it was a timber rattler. The ecological ignorance of the American populace is astounding.

  2. Some groups are not afraid to actually use fairly tales. Check this out.

    “Little Red Riding Hood warned us about wolf,” the ad states, “and Little Red Riding Hood was right.”

  3. Jordan says:

    Ralph – isn’t the headline “Gray wolves to leave the Endangered list” premature? I realize the AP used it but delisting ain’t over until the fat lady sings. The battle over delisting is just beginning, or am I mistaken?

  4. It is premature. I just posted the headline they used, rather than alter it.

    It should read “Interior will try to delist gray wolves.”

  5. Bob Fanning says:

    It should read “Interior will try to delist gray wolves.”

    It’s a court case ralph.
    Only those with standing to sue will make any real diffrence.

  6. There’s no court case yet. No one can sue until the delisting notice is published in the Federal Register on Monday.

    Lots of people will have standing to sue on this proposal. Rounding up plaintiffs with standing will be no problem.

  7. Kim says:

    those people have lost their minds.!!!!! wolves would rather go the other way than to eat a human..

  8. Robert Hoskins says:

    Technically, no one can sue until there’s a Record of Decision published in the Federal Register.

    So right now, it’s all sabre-rattling and artillery duels.

  9. kt says:

    In relation to any plan related to ESA de-listing: It is informative to look at how the Idaho Office of Species Conservation (not) handled monitoring commitments under a Plan (called a Candidate Conservation Agreement) being used to try to prevent ESA listing of slickspot peppergrass.

    The ranchers and OSC drew up a plan that fails to address nearly all the impacts of livestock grazing. But the Plan (and a year or two with rain and mis-analysis of trends) are being used to claim there is no need to list this Idaho plant.

    Well, a year or so after the Candidate Conservation Agreement was finalized, the rancher rep. on a review/oversight panel associated with slickspot, along with the OSC gentleman in the You Tube video Ralph has posted, set about to change how monitoring of livestock trampling was done. They were concerned that what was termed “penetrating” trampling was being found too often. So – Whoopee – let’s change the trampling definition so that the botanists doing the monitoring could almost never document cattle trampling damage.

    PURE, unadulterated politics trumping science. I keep bringing up slickspot, because what we have been seeing go on there is EXACTLY where wolf management will go upon de-listing. They might even behave for a little while – but given the ferocity of Otter and the legislature, and the bloodthirsty outlook of the FG Commission, I doubt it will be for very long. Then, all of a sudden there will be new and different OSC and rancher-imposed “Idaho” ways to count wolves.

    And Ralph in his Post with the video raises the point that some think OSC is supplanting IDFG. That’s why Dirk Kemphtorne set it up in the first place – the livestock industry in this state has always hated the Game Department. There is simply no need for OSC, and taxpayers of Idaho could save hundreds of thousands of dollars if it went away. I’m sure THAT’s not part of Butch Otter’s austerity program.

    It is alarming to see OSC, and not Fish and Game, really in charge. Maybe it’s time for a ballot initiative to get rid of OSC, and develop some kind of better protective mechanisms for biologists in this state. mechanism

  10. Alan says:

    Suitable gray wolf habitat exists in northern New England and the Adirondacks of New York, yet FWS has not moved to the reintroduction stage there, even those those regions are within the original range. Why? Because the process is fraught with political undertones.

  11. Alan says:

    A quick overview of the Coalition to Restore the Eastern Wolf can be read at

  12. bc says:

    Would it be easier to restore wolves to Colorado if they are delisted or stay listed? WHy?

  13. kt says:

    I know nothing about wolf genetics.

    Here’s a proposal:

    Even though this isn’t a NEPA process, but an alternative to be considered nonetheless unless it would mess up wolf genetics should be: FWS would coordinate any de-listing and “excess” gray wolf removal in Idaho with re-intro in the Adirondacks and northern New England. Fly those Idaho wolves east.

    That way: No need for “hunt” until, hopefully, Otter and cabal of current commissioners and OSC go away or go to jail for likely malfeasance at some point in the next 4 years…

    (I’m assuming there are no wolf DPS’s identified, or genetic nuances that would cuase problems to wolves).

    Plus, fewer wolves = reduced federal funds for OSC to divert.

  14. The Eastern Gray wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) which remains in Quebec and Ontario, is a different sub-species, or even a different species of wolf, more closely related to red wolves, according to DNA analysis.

    Many biologists are in fact calling it a different species, Canis lycaon

    The wolves from British Columbia and Alberta, reintroduced to Idaho, are closely related to the gray timber wolves of the Great Lakes, but then the Great Lakes wolf restoration has been more successfull than the one in the Northern Rockies. Minnesota has over 3000 wolves in an area smaller than central Idaho, and yet they have not reduced the white tailed deer population. Of course, the Great Lakes states are biologically more productive than the wolf recovery area in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

  15. Bob Fanning says:

    ” No one can sue until the delisting notice is published in the Federal Register”
    209 S Willson Ave
    Bozeman, MT 59715
    (406) 586-9699 might want a written legal opinion before making a declaration that you have ‘standing’

    Bob, I don’t understand what you are driving at. I don’t have any personal ambition to be a plaintiff. Whether the Wolf Recovery Foundation becomes a plaintiff in a potential lawsuit, and whether it has standing, is a matter for events to determine. OK?

    Do you to make some announcement on behalf of the Friends of the Northern Range Yellowstone Elk? Ralph Maughan

  16. Andy says:

    Let’s stop argueing based upon what is “right” or “wrong”..let your $$$ voice their opinion. Go to your local Scrap Booking Store or go online and get an ink stamp of a wolf. Stamp your money with the stamp. When enough money gets around with that stamp on it…you might see attitudes change! It’s all about the $$ with most of those folks! VOTE with you $$$

  17. Warren says:

    I like that idea Andy.



‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey