A coalition of environmental groups recently filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to challenge the delisting of gray wolves. Scientists and biologists working under the Trump administration announced the delisting in October 2020, returning wolves to state management.
“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation firmly supports the removal of federal protections for wolves so they can be appropriately managed by state wildlife agencies through regulated hunting and trapping,” Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO said after the delisting announcement. “The wolf population continues to surge in the western Great Lakes states and Northern Rockies. Montana’s wolf population is 500 percent above USFWS recovery goals while Idaho’s is nearly 700 percent above and Wyoming’s stable population remains a testament to the success of state management.”
Wolf populations are also well above state management plan levels in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin while modern era numbers are the highest they have ever been in both Oregon and Washington. Active wolf packs are also confirmed on the ground in California and Colorado with confirmed sightings in other states. Additionally, there are 7,000 to 11,000 wolves in Alaska and approximately 60,000 in Canada.
The science community under the Obama administration previously removed wolves from the endangered species list in 2011, but a judge ruling later nixed that move.
RMEF maintains that state wildlife agencies should manage wolves just as they manage elk, mountains lions, deer, bears and other wildlife.
(Photo source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)