A last of the Bush Administration special-

Here’s the link to the USFWS News Release

OR read it below


(Northern Rocky Mtns) Ed Bangs 406-449-5225, x204
Sharon Rose 303-236-4580
(Western Great Lakes)  Laura Ragan 612- 713-5157
Georgia Parham 812-334-4261, x203

Wolves in Wyoming to Remain Protected by Endangered Species Act

Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett announced today the removal of the western Great Lakes population and portions of the northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act. The success of gray wolf recovery efforts in these areas has contributed to expanding populations of wolves that no longer require the protection of the Act. However, gray wolves found within the borders of Wyoming will continue to be protected by the Act due to a lack of adequate regulatory mechanisms ensuring their protection under state law.

“Wolves have recovered in the Great Lakes and the northern Rocky Mountains because of the hard work, cooperation and flexibility shown by States, tribes, conservation groups, federal agencies and citizens of both regions,” said Scarlett. “We can all be proud of our various roles in saving this icon of the American wilderness.”

Today’s decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is scheduled to take effect 30 days after the publication of two separate rules, one for each population, in the Federal Register. The two rules address concerns raised during two separate federal court actions last summer requiring the Service to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for the two populations. The western Great Lakes population was originally removed from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants in March 2007, while the northern Rocky Mountain population was first delisted in February 2008.

Gray wolves were previously listed as endangered in the lower 48 states, except in Minnesota where they were listed as threatened. The Service oversees three separate recovery programs for the gray wolf; each has its own recovery plan and recovery goals based on the unique characteristics of wolf populations in each geographic area. Wolves in other parts of the 48 states, including the Southwest wolf population, remain endangered and are not affected by the actions taken today.

Northern Rocky Mountain wolves

The northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment includes all of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and a small part of north-central Utah. The minimum recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains is at least 30 breeding pairs and at least 300 wolves for at least three consecutive years, a goal that was attained in 2002 and has been exceeded every year since. There are currently about 100 breeding pairs and 1,500 wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. The Service believes that with approved state management plans in place in Montana and Idaho, all threats to the wolf population will be sufficiently reduced or eliminated in those states. Montana and Idaho will always manage for over 15 breeding pairs and 150 wolves per State and their target population level is about 400 wolves in Montana and 500 in Idaho.

As a result of a Montana United States District Court decision on July 18, 2008, the Service reexamined Wyoming law, its management plans and implementing regulations. While the Service has approved wolf management plans in Montana and Idaho, it has determined that Wyoming’s state law and wolf management plan are not sufficient to conserve Wyoming?s portion of a recovered northern Rocky Mountain wolf population.  Therefore, even though Wyoming is included in the northern Rocky Mountain DPS, the subpopulation of gray wolves in Wyoming is not being removed from protection of the Endangered Species Act. Continued management under the Endangered Species Act by the Service will ensure that the recovery goal of 300 wolves in Wyoming is sustained.

Acting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Rowan Gould said the Service will continue to work with the State of Wyoming in developing its state regulatory framework so that the state can continue to maintain and share a recovered northern Rocky Mountain population. Once adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place, the Service could propose removing the Act’s protections for wolves in Wyoming.  National parks and the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming already have adequate regulatory mechanisms in place to conserve wolves. However, at this time, wolves will remain protected as a nonessential, experimental population under the ESA throughout the state, including within the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation and national park units.

Western Great Lakes

The Service’s delisting of the gray wolf also applies to gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment. As the result of another legal ruling from the Washington D.C. United States District Court on September 29, 2008, the Service reexamined its legal authorization to simultaneously identify and delist a population of wolves in the western Great Lakes. The Service today reissued the delisting decision in order to comply with the Court’s concerns.

The area included in the DPS boundary includes the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The DPS includes all the areas currently occupied by wolf packs in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as nearby areas in these states in which wolf packs may become established in the future. The DPS also includes surrounding areas into which wolves may disperse but are not likely to establish packs.

Rebounding from a few hundred wolves in Minnesota in the 1970s when listed as endangered, the region’s gray wolf population now numbers about 4,000 and occupies large portions of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Wolf numbers in the three states have exceeded the numerical recovery criteria established in the species’ recovery plan for several years. In Minnesota, the population is estimated at 2,922. The estimated wolf population in Wisconsin is a minimum of 537, and about 520 wolves are believed to inhabit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources have developed plans to guide wolf management actions in the future. The Service has determined that these plans establish a sufficient basis for long-term wolf management. They address issues such as protective regulations, control of problem animals, possible hunting and trapping seasons, and the long-term health of the wolf population, and will be governed by the appropriate state or tribe.

“The Service is committed to ensuring wolves thrive in the Great Lakes and the northern Rocky Mountains and will continue to work with the states to ensure this successful recovery is maintained,” said Gould.

The Service will monitor the delisted wolf populations for a minimum of five years to ensure that they continue to sustain their recovery. At the end of the monitoring period, the Service will decide if relisting, continued monitoring, or ending Service monitoring is appropriate.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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About The Author

Brian Ertz

31 Responses to Service Removes Western Great Lakes, Portion of Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf Populations from Endangered Species List

  1. Buffaloed says:

    It is painfully obvious that this decision will not stand up to the courts. The two big reasons that the last plan failed have not been adequately addressed, genetic interchange and Wyoming’s plan.

    Wyoming has still not come up with a plan which is acceptable to the FWS and that is part of the original delisting plan put in place at the time of the reintroductions. When the FWS removes Wyoming from this process without any rationalization based upon the best available science then that is arbitrary and capricious.

    Seems like a pretty open and shut case to me.

  2. Salle says:

    Well, given the “timing” on this they seem to have known that not much ink would be spilled n it today… nothing in the national news that I can find.

    And, given the timing, they can at least “say” that they de-listed the wolves before they left office. I guess they want to be able to spend taxpayers’ money both from inside the government as well as outside in the form of legal fees.


  3. John d. says:

    Let’s save wolves…by killing them to the brink!

  4. JimT says:

    Salle, not that it is really on point, but I am curious..just how does this decision spend money from outside in the form of legal fees? I understand the money being spent out of Justice budgets needlessly, but you lost me on the other point.

    Start chanting, folks..TRO, TRO, TRO…

  5. You can also post your opinion right now at the Idaho Statesman on the delisting.

    Forum. Idaho Statesman.

  6. Save bears says:

    All I can say, is…..

    GW and his administration is a “Devious Genius: If Obama gives this any time at all, the majority of America is going to be screaming, with us heading into double digit unemployment, two wars we are directly involved in and another war in the Middle east! 2/3rds of America could care less about wolves, when they are loosing their homes, loosing their jobs and cars..

    This is going to really be a mess!

  7. JimT says:


    Just spent some time having fun on the Idaho Statesman website…LOL..

    They don’t give out home addresses do they? VBG…

  8. Salle says:


    My point about spending taxpayers’ money from both sides, I meant that taxpayers are paying for all the government actions, all of them. In addition, it is ultimately taxpayers who fund the legal actions fighting them in court from the NGO coffers, most of which supposedly comes from taxpayers/citizens and…?

    I’m going to have to go read some of that Idaho Statesman stuff.

  9. kt says:

    Will any Member of the Senate be questioning Ken Salazar at his imminent Confirmation Hearing, and ask him very specifically what he plans to do to reverse the last minute Scarlett and Kempthorne wolf delisting? If so, what evasive answer do you suppose he might give?

    So how will Obama deal with this? Isn’t this one of those Decisions issued within 30 days of a new Admin. taking charge? Can it be reversed immediately, with a stroke of the Pen? If that is the case, then what will be done? What political deals will be made? Will Idaho’s newly elected Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick (who has already promised to act like a Republican and who ran on a Slogan “Right for Idaho” ) implore Obama to reverse this ASAP? Is there back door dealmaking to let it fester for a while, a bunch of wolves be killed, processes play out, get the Boulder White Clouds Bill moving, etc. etc.

    Will Minnick, a former Idaho Conservation League Board Member, take a position on the last-minute wolf de-listing? Folks might call his office tomorrow, and ask what he plans to do and say publicly about this. Will Minnick let wolves be handled by the Butch Otter Farm Bureau Fish and Game – where any Manager who speaks out about anything or tires to do what is biologically right for wildlife gets his head chopped off (See Parrish, Dave).

    I just tried to look up Minnick’s number on his Website, and did not find it. I did learn, however, that he had voted against the auto company bailout “bucking his own party”. Uh oh. And bucking – that has a c’boy connotation.

    Let’s find out what Walt will do about this!

  10. Jeff N. says:

    In response to Save Bears and in response in general:

    The ultimate “grab your ankles” to the states of WY, ID, MT would be if the Obama Admin. would let the ruling stand, pull the plug on the ADC…er…Wildlife Services…. and put the entire responsibility on the aforementioned states, which in this economic climate cannot afford to put all the wildlife management financial resources towards wolf control ( radio collars, helicopters, misc. montoring…etc.). If the feds pull out entirely we’ll have wolves in CO, UT, CA, NV within 3-5 years. Give these A-Holes what they want and let them reap the benefits minus any Federal Gov’t assistance.

  11. Save bears says:


    two answers…….




    The rest of the country at this point in time don’t care about what happens to wolves, bison or bears….

    Sorry to tell you the truth, but they have other things on their minds right now…

    And based on my contacts in the government, we are currently closer to Nuclear war that we have been since Cuba, Israel has been trying to get permission to attack Iran for 6 months, and might actually do it with Obama in office…

  12. Save bears says:

    Jeff N,

    As a wildlife biologist, I suspect you are pretty close to right, problem is, if they are de-listed and they give full control over to the states, then your going to see a mass slaughter and they will again be gone, this is a catch 22 in which no one will win, if the states don’t have the funds to manage, then they kill so they don’t have to manage, I worked with FWP for 10 years, and I know how upper management thinks, if we can manage, then we eliminate, period, preserving ALL animals does not mean anything, they preserve animals that make money for them, wolves don’t derive income, so get rid of them…

    Sorry, that is the way it is right now, and one of the reasons, I left my job with them, it was and continues to be about money and not multi-species management!

  13. Jeff N. says:

    Save Bears,

    Point well taken, however I’d like to see how these states could afford and implement a mass slaughter of wolves. I am not saying it isn’t possible but I do believe that the financial resources and necessary means are not available in order to make this happen at the state level. Without functioning radio collars (or minus radio collars) to track the whereabouts of wolves, w/o helicopters to shoot from, etc….I doubt the states could afford/implement an efficient control policy w/o any fedearal assistance. Of course I do not believe that Obama will do away with ADC…….but one can dream.

  14. Save bears says:


    They don’t need to “Implement it” they have more than enough people living in these states that spend a whole bunch of time in the woods with guns, all you have to have is a few bubba’s with rifles and you got a killing team, and in Montana and Idaho, how many people do you think have guns? And at the worst they would get a ticket for shooting an animal out of season! People really need to look at the big picture…

    I am sorry, I THOUGHT it was a coyote!

  15. Jeff N. says:

    Save Bears,

    Understand…I am aware of the irrational hatred towards this animal by the “Bubba” contingent of society. However, I would have to question the effectiveness of this crowd when it comes to wolf control. Seriously, I can’t imagine these buffoons matching the kill numbers of the feds over the past year.

  16. Save bears says:

    Jeff you can question all you want, but unfortunately, after living in Idaho and Montana, they are pretty effective at killing, don’t even underestimate your enemy…you will always loose..

  17. Jeff N. says:

    Save Bears,

    I’m on your side and I do not underestimate the “enemy”.

    However, It took a federal eradication program to eliminate wolves from 90 % of this country and it is my opinion that presently, w/o federal programs to “manage” wolves , we’d already have breeding populations in CO, UT, NV and CA.

    The states, even with the help of Bubba cannot, nor do they really want to have ultimate control. They certainly want to control/manage wolves but they also want federal funds in order to accomplish their population target/goal.

    I say give them control minus federal funds and we can all
    watch wolves proliferate throughout the west.

  18. Wildlife Services needs to eliminated as an agency.

    While they are a federal agency by law, in practice they solicit and receive funding from livestock associations, state governments and even counties. So cutting off federal funds is not enough.

    They need to be replaced by an entirely new agency, one that deals with non-native invasive animals like nutria, monkeys, zebra mussels.

  19. Save bears says:


    I agree 110% they need to be eliminated…

  20. kt says:

    Geez Ralph – You mean you want to see the Wildlife Services aerial gunners out wading in polluted marshes after nutria, sifting through cargo for brown tree snakes, or something non-Rambo-ish.

  21. Salle says:

    That’s what I would like to see, it wouldn’t be such a romantic lure then.

  22. John d. says:

    Well there goes the Wolf Recovery program.

  23. Moose says:

    This is a good thing for the Great Lakes pop. Wolves are firmly established, and the DNR’s in the respective states have adequate plans in place to ensure their continued survival.

  24. John d. says:

    How does wiping them to the brink help continue their survival Moose?

  25. I see where wolf populations are now on the decline in Wisconsin and Michigan.

    They are firmly established and that’s why the population has topped out.

    The wolf population has also stopped growing in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming . . . same reason except maybe Montana where a lot of wolves have been killed for livestock conflicts this year.

  26. Salle says:

    There have also been a lot of wolves killed by WS in Idaho, they just like to obscure the reports so that you have to un-do the fuzzy math to get the tally, sort of. At least you can get the idea of how they are going about it. Idaho has a history of using some kind of double-speak or non-speak language that doesn’t sound like what they are really saying and doing. But if you hang around Idaho and pay attention to the politics long enough, you learn the language. Take Larry Craig’s invention of the “domestic wildlife” arguments he so adamantly spews when talking about wolves and what they eat for instance…

  27. Moose says:

    John d.,

    Nobody is “wiping them to the brink” in the Great Lakes – they are there to stay. There is strong public support for the continued existence wolves in those states among the populace and the legislature. I have confidence the pop.s there will be adequately managed by the respective DNRs just as they do other wildlife populations. If you have contrary information, I’d love to hear it.

  28. JB says:

    “Wildlife Services needs to eliminated as an agency.”

    Not at all likely to happen. Especially since “nuisance wildlife” just caused a plane to crash in the Hudson.

  29. John d. says:

    Actually you are right Moose, there is no information to say either way. In fact the DNR for Michigan hasn’t released any information on its ‘private harvest’ of wolves, not even a rough percentage.

    Wisconsin is the only state to have wolves listed as ‘non-game’ animals, but there again we’ve got the argument coming from the hunting community declaring that these predators, and not anything else, are decimating their heritage. Thus needing to be thinned out, despite the negative consiquences it will have.

    With the very negative attitudes and overblown stories I’ve been hearing there doesn’t seem to be a lot of public education or rough understanding about wolf ecology among the masses there. The high SSS rate seems to speak for itself.

    Its expecting change from people who don’t want to.

  30. chuck parker says:

    I don’t see “Bubba” types having much of a long term impact on wolf populations. One, they don’t leave the road. Two, they can’t shoot. Years ago in Montana, I was traveling with a couple Bubba-type cowboys who’d moved to Montana from New Jersey, or was it Arkansas? At any rate, while driving along the highway, we saw a coyote about 150 yards away on the other side of the barbed wire fence. The Bubba’s stopped, grabbed their rifles, and started blazing away at the coyote. It walked away untouched. One Bubba looked at the other and said, “That coyote was scairt to move for fear of getting hit.”

  31. Chuck,

    I have been arguing the same thing for a long time. That’s why I focus on Wildlife Services.


January 2009


‎"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