Below are links to a very large number of stories on the wolf delisting. The list was compiled by Rod Klavins. Numerous people sent them to him.

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.

49 Responses to Links to many wolf delisting stories

  1. Ida Lupine says:

    From Scientific American:

    I’m not so sure. I do believe that the gray wolf’s recovery is, indeed, an amazing achievement and something to loudly and proudly celebrate. But I also believe that many of the states with wolf populations today have shown great disregard for the animals. The number of wolves killed over the past two years — animals that we as a country have spent tens of millions of dollars to recover — should be seen as a national shame. An astonishing 7 percent of the wolves in the Rocky Mountain region were killed in 2012. This year Idaho Governor Butch Otter, who previously declared wolves a “disaster emergency,” vetoed funding for wolf management. That’s not proper management by the states. It’s an invitation to chaos and a potential slaughter.

    None of this is official quite yet. Public comments will be open for the next 90 days at (search for FWS-HQ-ES-2013-00073). We’ll see what happens after that.

  2. Ida Lupine says:

    From the Helena Independent Record editorial:

    If states do allow wolf numbers to drop again to perilously low numbers, then the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is there, armed with the Endangered Species Act, to again preserve wolf population numbers.

    I think it is dangerous to think this way. First of all, there is no guarantee of this, just another long, protracted battle. Secondly, all of this indiscriminate killing of the past has done genetic damage, and more indiscriminate killing will also. The genetic differences of our North American wolves are not only valuable in their own right and have the right to exist in their own right, but to science to study. Wiping them out and then replacing them with wolves from somewhere else isn’t the way to ‘manage’ an animal that has had considerable damage done to it already.

  3. WM says:

    I dont think this one is on the list:

    Dan McNulty, wolf researcher whose name you will sometimes see next to other well known researchers studying Yellowstone thinks wolve should be taken off the ESA. Interesting comments in this article:

    • Immer Treue says:


      Generally I agree that states can more efficiently manage wolves. I have never been anti management. What most pro-wolf folks object to is the type of management. One case in point is what I brought up a day or so ago, that up here in NE MN, many folks hoped delisting would give them the opportunity to protect pets, that’s all. They were appalled at the season.

      Another thing that continually pops up is $. Some pathway for nonconsumptive users/pro wolf folks to contribute to management/depredation funds must become available. I believe WAshington will have a special wolf plate where proceeds go toward depredation funding. State wolf license plates, stamps, etc are creative and at the same time not far fetched ideas to let prowolf folks contribute, have more of a say, and perhaps limit some of the more “draconian” management states propose.

      • Mark L says:

        Does putting more money into the system add any representation to their voices? i.e. a novel form of taxation without representation
        Couldn’t the state just say ‘hey, thanks for the money suckers’ and still vote for draconian mangement?

        • Immer Treue says:

          The point is, get creative. Give people the opportunity to participate. Management does not have to be synonymous for killing.

          • Louise Kane says:

            Immer Management does not indeed have to be synonymous with killing. In particular, wolves do not need to be hunted to “manage” complaints of depredation. Its difficult to imagine that random hunting of wolves will not incur long term negative consequences for the species as a whole. As pack animals they evolved to have strong social bonds that affect their survival, reproduction, as well their emotional well-being. Recently I posted a story that was written by an observer of the Lamar pack. She wrote about the effect on one of the Alpha males in the aftermath of the death of the Lamar female. That story haunts me. Managing wolves without consideration of their sociality and without seeing them as individuals is short sighted and particularly inhumane. Many people object to killing wolves for fun as they do to treating these animals with such callous disregard and to killing them using extreme barbarism and cruelty. There is no justification and no logical reason that can legitimize public hunting of wolves. Hunting and killing wolves randomly wreaks havoc within packs, creates the potential for greater predation and causes untold suffering of the individuals. Public wolf hunting and most predator hunting is a national disgrace.

      • WM says:


        I think there is/will be a continuium of management philosophies/plans from the various states as they work their way up the learning curve on how to manage wolves for a changing public. Some lessons learned from WA (staff was out in front of the commission trying to commit them to a plan that was not workable – the Commission pared it back and wanted to remain “flexible” as they achieve greater oversight in wolf management; OR – got hamstrung by a plan that landed them in court when the staff tried to take more aggressive localized action to deal directly with the offending wolves in the Joseph/Enterprise area – being in court over this stuff is not helpful, I think.

        There will always be the politics that shape what the public gets and what it thought it would get from the exercise of power or working out the details of programs.

        I am laughing this morning over a Seattle Times headline, which follows on the recent voter passage of the recreational marijuana law – front page. “Challenge ahead to keep pot out of young hands.” Public health advocates and others want tough rules to limityouth access to recreational MJ. They seek regulation like tobacco and alcohol, and childproof packaging on edible MJ containing products. Like that stuff will really work for teens who are most likely to abuse or be allowed by parents to slip by the rules.

        By the way, the WA legislation to which you refer, was passed about a month ago. It actually applies to “personalized” license plates – the ones with the cutsie acronyms, phonetic spellings, etc. [there is no wolf plate per se, to my knowledge]. It dedicates an additional $10 charge that goes to the depredation fund for those who can confirm loss of livestock from wolves. So, let’s call it a voluntary tax for those who want equity in the “I want wolves – I have wolves and don’t like it” camps. Of course, it will be collected, probably in fairly larg numbers, from folks who want vanity plates, but have no interest or are ambivalent about wolves or other wildlife.

        We will probably be seeing a fair number of these creative funding solutions pop up, some even giving a voice to wolf advocates, if the hand-off is given to states. But there is that continuiuum concept that will keep things interesting. Don’t expect much in UT, CO or the core NRM.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      I’m starting to think in this direction also – the states that don’t want them, take them awa from them. Give them to the states that do want them and will appreciate them.

      Hunting is not a management tool, at least the way the NRM are doing it, and the SSS lowlifes. Getting the numbers down to the bare minimum to make a statement won’t be helped by bringing in more or putting them back on the Endangered Species list. The damage will have been done and it will be too late. No matter what kind of excuse we are given, anyone can see it. In Canada, their wolves and coyotes are not allowed to be hunted, and they have a buffer zone around Algonquin Park, and it appears to be working.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        With all of the trumpeting America does about how great we are, Canada has us beat as far as wolf management is concerned. We suck.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          If progress is made on our national park in the northeast, there would be no reason to visit the Western states. It’s 26 million acres. The only draw for me is the National Parks and Rockies, I’d have no reason to set foot there otherwise. I’m going to concentrate my energies on making it a reality.

        • Louise Kane says:

          Ida Canada has some terrible wolf policies that include poison, snares, traps, widespread elimination policies that are touted to save woodland caribou or other species. Canada may be worse, I am not sure.

      • ma'iingan says:

        “In Canada, their wolves and coyotes are not allowed to be hunted,…”

        Huh? Every Canadian province that has wolves and coyotes allows hunts for them, and some local governments still post wolf bounties. Every province has sponsored serious wolf-reduction efforts at some point. Alberta, having some of the largest wolves, is a popular draw for trophy wolf hunters.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Let me see if I can find it. This is in Ottawa. I should have made that clear.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          I think the Western Canadian provinces suffer from the “wild West syndrome” much as the US western states. Also, extraction industries play a much bigger role in the West. The point I was making is that Algonquin Park does have a buffer zone, does limit or prohbit hunting of wolves and coyotes, does protect a corridor for dispersion, and it is working. We can do it too. It would be a great compromise around the national parks in the US, and won’t impact hunting at all.

          • Ida Lupine says:

            But we have to call the waaaaah-mbulance everytime we think something is impinging on our freedoms. Freedoms come with responsibility. The very least that can be done after the delisting as an happy epilogue to the success story is to make an effor to protect the parks and the wildlife in them.

            SB I know very well what’s going on.

            Rork, putting aside millions of acres of forest is not a fantasy, but is actively being pursued in some states. Here it is in our least populated states.

            I wonder if some states in the West haven’t taken care of their lands and now it may be to late. Protecting millions of acres of forest will do a hell of a lot more for climate change than tearing down more habitat to put up artificial wind and solar farms.

    • Jon Way says:

      Thanks for the article link… That is an interesting perspective and I think one that not many biologists would agree with. Who is to say that a state shouldn’t allow a native animal b.c they don’t want them. That is awfully hypocritical in my opinion to force ID, MT and WY to have wolves and then say it is up to other states to make the decision on their own. I can’t imagine that stands up in the court of law. One thing that might be possible to get them delisted is to get a MOU from all states to allow a minimum of a certain number of wolves in their states (like UT) when they arrive, sort of like ID, MT, and WY did. In that way, they will have some latitude with livestock depredations but will allow for (some) wolf recovery. Without that, I don’t know how the delisting survives lawsuits. Maybe I am off-base… Thanks for the link.

      • rork says:

        That was my take too, thanks.
        However, I have bias about what the land is used for. Missouri is probably fantastic wolf habitat if it were wild, but somehow I’m willing to admit that serious agriculture is an appropriate use of that land. In my fantasy world even such places would have millions of acres put aside as reserve – wish I thought we had that luxury. I’m less generous to ranching. I’m downright ungenerous in a state that’s 57% federally owned.
        Thanks to ma’iingan for some reality about wolves in Canada up the thread.

        • Jon Way says:

          Wolves might be an asset in a place like Missouri where white tailed deer are abundant. Wolves would do fine in corn row covers and wheat fields where they would prey on deer… Of course, that is separate from human perceptions of wolf packs there… I agree with you about states that are over 50% federally owned. All Americans pay taxes that in part support the residents of UT – why not have them have to conform to some standards with animals like wolves.

        • Ida Lupine says:

          It isn’t the reality.

  4. Rancher Bob says:

    Question for all, I was talking with our local FWP wolf biologist who said about the delisting that USFWS has more than met their obligations to the grey wolf as the ESA reads.

    So if USFWS has met the letter of the law, will the lawsuits that are sure to follow have any grounds to stand on?

    • Immer Treue says:

      Rancher Bob,

      Three schools of thought: don’t kill any; fair chase, science based management; kill them all. More than obvious the pendulum has swung more to the last category. Unless it moves to the middle, the law suits will probably continue until you are old and gray.

      • Ida Lupine says:

        Unless it moves to the middle, the law suits will probably continue until you are old and gray.


      • Rancher Bob says:

        I don’t know if I should rewrite my question to fit your answer or if I should let you try to answer the question as it was wrote.
        The USFWS feels that it has met all the requirements of the ESA, which is they have a wolf population in a large part of historical range.

        If the USFWS did all that was required it by the requirements of the ESA, then what grounds can the law suits stand?

        • Immer Treue says:


          I don’t know. But I’ll fall back on political pressure was much more present than any practical science/environmental process,leading up to this whole delisting procedure. Guess we’ll have to wait and see, eh?

      • Louise Kane says:

        The lawsuits should have merit. How can anyone pass the red face test and say that wolves have recovered in most of their significant range. The ESA defines an endangered species as one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A threatened species is one that is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. I think there are good arguments here. I hope the USFWS gets taken to task for this. The delisting is a creepy rollover. US citizens should not stand for this.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      As a purely non-expert’s observation, it would appear if the FWP did anything wrong it was/is spending too much time and money catering to the squeaky wheels out West instead of looking into other, more-than-suitable habitat for wolves in other areas and establishing wolves there as well. If FWP folks are exhausted fighting battles with Western ranchers, it is understandable that they would be sick of it. They may have dropped the ball here. When I think of wolves, the word vitality comes to mind.

  5. Ida Lupine says:

    This gave me a bit of a chuckle when I was doing some research about Eastern wolves. I was surprised it made the radar in Wyoming:

  6. Ida Lupine says:

    From the Dan McNulty article (I promise this is my last comment and others will be able to get a word in!):

    Perhaps we should give money to other species, such as amphibians and plants, that are less charismatic, but that are at real risk of disappearing forever.

    It has never been about the wolf being charismatic for me. It has been about how misunderstood and violently persecuted the wolf has been over the centuries that makes me feel so strongly about protecting them. There’s a book I’m reading and I can never get past the page where it says that so many wolves were killed back in the 1800s that streets were white with their crushed skulls and bones. I can’t get that barbaraic image out of my head now. Here in New England we pave driveways with discarded seashells.

    Even to this day the wolf is misunderstood and reviled. We freely admit that he isn’t the most dangerous predator out there – people will discuss cougar and bear attacks. What’s the reason the wolf is so unfairly persecuted? Just human idiosyncracy.

    If anybody thinks that once protections for wolves are abandoned, we’re going to concentrate our efforts on protecting other species, I think they are naive. The grizzly is next, sandhill cranes, and even raptors like our American Eagle are going to be endangered by preferential incidental takes (for 30 years and the information hidden from the public) for wind farms. Turtle habitat is being torn up in our deserts for massive solar farms.

  7. CodyCoyote says:

    Just keep in mind there is a 5-year monitoring period following a species’ delisting where USF&WS is required to assure the species viabilty is not unduly threatened. Think of it as ” Probation”. Wyoming is very cognizant of this aspect of the ESA process and has already cut back on this year’s planned quota of wolves that can be taken by sport hunters, because the livestock producers still get first take, unabated, and Wyoming’s numbers are fairly close to the threshhold for Relisting as is.

    No Fat Ladies are yet singing at the Lower 48 Wolf Delisting opera.

    • ZeeWolf says:

      Those proverbial fat ladies might not be singing yet, but they are certainly backstage warming up.

  8. Ida Lupine says:

    Here’s some info on the status of bounties and our illustrious past. Such prime examples of humanity make me want to puke.

    Rocky Mountain Horror Show

  9. WM says:

    This is one of those stories – was it a wolf or was it a cougar that injured this woman’s young colt? A cougar tracker investigating says it was a wolf (because his cougar dogs trained for cougar did not pursue), while WDFW, in the political hot seat for anything that might involve a wolf, says it was not a wolf. Go figure.

    Regardless, it is illustrative of a perceived management problem with regard to depredating wolves in which they remain ESA listed (hence the tension for delisting).

    With more wolves spreading across WA, some months back, I made a prediction. That prediction was that when wolves started to move into areas where pets were(horses, dogs, llamas, the family 4H sheep, rather than commercially raised livestock), the conflicts would bring an emotional response. Well, it appears to be happening. This incident is reported in the remaining 2/3 of WA, where wolves are at present still ESA listed.

    • Mark L says:

      Not sure who did it, but statistically its more likely a wild dog or coyote than a wolf.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      Well, WA needs to step up and request delisting for themselves, not for the entire country. They shouldn’t hide behind the other western states.

      • bret says:

        Ida, wolves are and will remain protected in WA regardless of what the Feds do.

        the WA plan is in no way similar to other western states so I’m not sure what you mean by “hiding behind”?

        • Ida Lupine says:

          Well, making it seem like it is a national delisting, wanted by the entire country – when it really is only the West who is clamoring for it. I’m tired of the West dominating the subject of wolves.

        • SaveBears says:

          Are you sure about that Bret?

    • Ida Lupine says:

      It’s propaganda and a guilt by association smear campaign. What is their problem, recovery numbers aren’t high enough to justify a delisting in WA by itself?

  10. Nancy says:

    Had to post this from a friend on the east coast, responding to the delisting of wolves:

    Concerning your premature delisting of the Gray and Mexican wolf populations:

    l. As a taxpayer, it is difficult to stomach the GRAND waste of my dollars to first REINSTATE wolves into their natural environments at a cost of millions….and then simply shift with the breeze and decide we don’t want them after all. What a disgusting lack of thought and of science, …and a shocking lack of courage to stand up to a few who would derail the program of assuring there are top predators in place to have healthy ecosystems.

    2. As a Floridian, it sounds wussy to be so afraid of the wolves. After all, WE live with alligators. You simply have to do a few things differently, like using good fences, not leaving food (as in dead cattle, etc.) out to tempt them to eat, and being sensible about your personal habits.

    3. Between the NRA and the grisly local sport of eradicating wolves in the most painful way possible, it seems our civilization is fragmenting. We should worry about our blood lust tendencies.

    4. The beauty of our system of federal and state governments is that there are roles for both. We have a federal government in order to provide oversight, education and good science. Delisting would prematurely turn wolf management over to the states. We’ve already seen what can happen when rabid anti-wolf local politics are allowed to trump science and core wildlife management principles. The wolf packs will be decimated and desperate.

    ***We are spending our next three months in Montana – in part to stay cool and in part to relish the wild edge of our country, which definitely includes the wolf.

    I appeal to you NOT to delist the wolves and turn them over to state control. Like birds, wolves cross borders. It is a national question.

    • Louise Kane says:

      Nancy please tell your friend about Montana’s hateful wolf and bison polices and send her some information about Washington State where traps are banned and they have used citizen’s input to develop their wolf management plan. Washington is cool too and extremely beautiful and she won’t be supporting a state that is borderline psychotic in its slaughter of wolves. As a lover of wildlife, a taxpayer and a citizen, I believe she has a choice and not spending money in Montana is a good choice.

  11. Jimt says:

    Comments are now being taken on this blatant attempt by DOI to abandon the wolf to extinction again. Go the Defenders of Wildlife website where you will find links to the site where one can access the Federal Register website for comments. Get involved. There will be lawsuits, and if the comments are 80-20 against delisting, FWS will have a very hard time justifying the rationale of pushing this into a final rule.

  12. Ida Lupine says:

    Here’s a couple more, maybe better suited to the trash heap, I’m dizzy from the spinning and twisted logic:

    Under the ESA (Endangered Species Act) the FWS is under no obligation to restore a species to it’s entire historic range. If you can imagine depopulating Los Angeles to make way for large carnivores I’m sure you can understand why.

    These worries persist despite the precedent set in Montana. In 2011, protections for Montana’s wolf populations were lifted. Now, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is largely free to manage wolves, and they haven’t been eradicated — nor have all the elk or domestic animals that wolves sometimes prey on.

    Not yet anyway.

    There are more than 6,100 roaming the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes.

    This one shows up in all of the – well over 6100, more than 6100, etc. Just how many is well over 6100?


June 2013


‎"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