In a surprise move, the gray
wolf is back at the forefront of what will likely become a
series of legal battles in states across the country with its
upcoming delisting from the Endangered Species Act.
On Oct. 29, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced
its final rule to delist gray wolves, removing federal
protections and imposing state and tribal management
Wyoming’s gray wolves were delisted in 2017 after the
federal agency determined the numbers for recovery of
the reintroduced species had been reached and surpassed.
Wyoming is required to have 100 wolves in the state
and 50 in Yellowstone, along with other recovery criteria.
At the end of 2019, scientists determined at least 311 gray
wolves were living in Wyoming.
Outside of Yellowstone and the Wind River Reservation,
Wyoming Game and Fish is managing the state’s
population in the trophy-game zone and licensed hunt
areas. Outside the trophy-game area in the state’s predator
zone, Game and Fish does not manage gray wolves or
require hunting tags in that zone.
The FWS’ final rule takes effect in 60 days for all other
48 lower states; it does not include Mexican gray wolves
reintroduced in Arizona and New Mexico.
Reactions came swiftly from lawmakers praising the
move and conservationists opposing it.
Thursday, Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso said,
“President Trump’s administration is taking bold action
to help both states and wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service has determined the gray wolf has recovered
enough to be delisted in the lower 48 states. We have
seen firsthand in Wyoming how a state is fully capable
of managing gray wolf populations. Since 2017, the wolf
has been delisted in our state. Wyoming has proven that
states, not Washington, are in the best position to manage
the gray wolf.”
Retiring U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi also lauded the announcement:
“Delisting the gray wolf has been a long and bumpy
road, but I think everyone should take pride in this announcement
today. States like Wyoming have shown they
are able to effectively manage the gray wolf. It is important
to remember that the purpose of the Endangered Species
Act is to get to this point, where a species is fully
recovered. I am hopeful that even more species in the future
will be able to reach this milestone.”
Wildlife advocates were also quick to react Thursday,
with a collective statement condemning gray wolves’ delisting
as a step away from recovery and toward “extinction.”
“The Service made its decision despite the fact that
wolves are still functionally extinct in the vast majority of
their former range across the continental United States,”
said the Center of Biological Diversity in the a statement.
“Again and again the courts have rejected premature
removal of wolf protections,” said CBD’s Collette Adkins.
“But instead of pursuing further wolf recovery, the Fish
and Wildlife Service has just adopted its broadest, most
destructive delisting rule yet. The courts recognize, even
if the feds don’t, that the Endangered Species Act requires
real wolf recovery, including in the southern Rockies and
other places with ideal wolf habitat.”
Others speaking against gray wolves’ delisting represented
the Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association,
Oregon Wild and Defenders of Wildlife.
The next planned step is clear from their comments.
“This delisting decision is what happens when bad sci-
Polls open Tuesday
WYOMING – Wyoming’s 2020 General Election
takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Secretary of State
Ed Buchanan is encouraging all eligible voters to cast
“As Wyoming’s Chief Election Official, I’m honored
to help oversee the election process and hope you
take the time to exercise one of your greatest civic duties
as citizens. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov.
3, at polling locations across the state,” said Secretary
“For those who plan to vote on Nov. 3, Wyoming
law requires that employees be given one hour off of
work to vote on Election Day. The law stipulates that
the hour off may not be a meal hour and may be selected
at the employer’s discretion. Please work with
your employer to ensure you have the opportunity to
exercise your right to vote.” said State Election Director
The Secretary of State’s Office works side by side
with Wyoming’s 23 county clerks in overseeing and
administering Wyoming’s elections.
ence drives bad policy – and it’s illegal, so we will see
them in court,” said Earthjustice attorney Kristen Boyles.
For more about delisting final rule, go to https://www.