Author: Daniel Himebaugh
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it is initiating a five-year status review for the gray wolf. PLF filed a lawsuit in February to force the Service to undertake this review, pursuant to the Service's statutory duties under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The gray wolf has been listed as an endangered species throughout the lower forty-eight states since 1978, but the Service has never reviewed the gray wolf's status, even though the ESA requires it to undertake a review at least once every five years. The status review process is meant to ensure that scientific data continues to support the listing.
There are two other announcements of note today: First, the Service published a final rule delisting part of the Northern Rocky Mountain distinct population segment (DPS) of gray wolves to comply with federal budget legislation enacted last month. This means that gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, and portions of Washington, Oregon, and Utah have been removed from the endangered species list. Second, the Service is also proposing to identify and delist a revised Western Great Lakes DPS, and to remove all or part of twenty-nine southern and eastern states from the gray wolf's historical range.