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07/08/2009

Gray Wolves Regain Temporary Protection in Western Great Lakes

The long saga of the gray wolf has yet another chapter to add.  Most recently, the Obama administration chose to uphold a Bush administration delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This applied to all populations of the wolf except those in Wyoming where state management plans were not deemed stringent enough to secure protection.  However, last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reached a settlement agreement with plaintiffs in a lawsuit that had challenged the Service's removal of the Western Great Lakes sub-population of the wolf.

Gray wolf2

Credit: Gary Kramer/US Fish and Wildlife Service

Gray wolves in this region have exceeded the recovery goals that were set when it was first listed under the ESA.  However, in reaching this settlement, the Forest Service agrees that the public comment and review required under federal law was not sufficient to make the final decision.  The Service has agreed to allow additional opportunity for public comment on the rule and during that time the wolves will regain the protections that they enjoyed previously: the status of threatened in Minnesota and the status of endangered elsewhere.

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