Magazine article Endangered Species Bulletin

Final Reclassification

Magazine article Endangered Species Bulletin

Final Reclassification

Article excerpt

Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) On April 1, a steadily growing gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes states and a highly successful reintroduction program in the northern Rocky Mountains prompted us to change the status of gray wolves in these areas from endangered to the less serious category of threatened under the ESA.

The reclassification rule establishes three DPSs for gray wolves. The three DPSs encompass the entire historic range of the gray wolf in the lower 48 states and Mexico, and correspond to the three areas of the country where there are wolf populations and ongoing recovery activities.

Wolf populations in the Eastern and Western DPSs have achieved population goals for recovery, and we will soon begin work to propose delisting these populations.

The threatened designation, which now applies to all gray wolves in the lower 48 states except for those in the Southwest, is accompanied by special rules to allow some take of wolves outside the experimental population areas in the northern Rocky Mountains. Under the ESA, these rules provide options for removing wolves that cause problems for livestock owners and other people affected by wolf populations. Such rules are possible for threatened species but not for those designated as endangered. Wolves in experimental population areas in the northern Rocky Mountains are already covered by similar rules that remain in effect.

We will begin the process of proposing to remove gray wolves in the western and eastern United States from the endangered and threatened species list once we have determined that all recovery criteria for wolf populations in those areas have been met and sufficient protections remain in place to ensure sustainable populations. Gray wolf numbers in the western Great Lakes--estimated at more than 2,445 in Minnesota, 323 in Wisconsin, and 278 in Michigan--have climbed beyond recovery plan goals for wolves in the eastern U. …

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