Washington, DC

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its final plan to delist the gray wolf from federal Endangered Species Act protections in the Lower 48. The announcement comes a year after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed the delisting and despite the public outcry of 1.8 million Americans. 

Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark issued the following statement: 

“Stripping protections for gray wolves is premature and reckless. Gray wolves occupy only a fraction of their former range and need continued federal protection to fully recover. We will be taking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to court to defend this iconic species.”

Additional Background: 
•    In May 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released the summary report of their commissioned independent scientific peer review of the delisting review. Scientists agreed that based on the biological report, the proposal to delist the gray wolf was premature.  Wolves are currently protected under the Endangered Species Act throughout the lower 48 states, except for the Northern Rockies states (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and eastern portions of Oregon, Washington and northern Utah).
•    On January 12, 1995, eight gray wolves were relocated to Yellowstone National Park from Canada. The reintroduction has helped restore natural dynamics to one of America’s most beloved ecosystems.
•    In the 25 years since the Yellowstone and central Idaho reintroduction, Defenders of Wildlife has remained committed to restoring wolves to additional suitable places throughout their historical ranges and to promoting coexistence in these places, with past and present campaigns in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado and more. 
•    Without Endangered Species Act protections, states with increasingly hostile anti-wolf policies can remove all protection from wolves allowing them to be killed without penalty as Wyoming did when it opened most of the state to unregulated wolf killing.
•    Since wolves were removed from federal protection in the Northern Rocky Mountain states in 2011, more than 3,500 wolves have been killed under state management.

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Communications Specialist
karberg@defenders.org
(202) 772-0259

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