The Department of the Interior announced it has removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list, signaling a successful recovery under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The gray wolf spent more than four decades on the endangered species list. The population is now thriving in the lower 48 states.
State and tribal wildlife management agencies will now be responsible for the management and protection of the gray wolf.
"We are happy to see the progress made from public and private efforts over the years, so that the ultimate goal of species recovery could be achieved," said Ron Gibson, President of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation. "Relying on data to guide decision making should be the way we manage endangered species. We look forward to working with our state wildlife officials to make sure livestock are taken into account as they implement the Utah management plan."
“This is an Endangered Species Act success story,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “The gray wolf joins more than 50 other animals, including the bald eagle, as an example of how careful management and partnerships between federal and state agencies can result in the successful recovery of a once-threatened species. The gray wolf population is now thriving so it is appropriate to turn management over to the states, which can oversee the species in a way that is most appropriate for each region.”
"The Service based its final determination solely on the best scientific and commercial data available, a thorough analysis of threats and how they have been alleviated and the ongoing commitment and proven track record of states and tribes to continue managing for healthy wolf populations once delisted. This analysis includes the latest information about the wolf’s current and historical distribution in the contiguous United States," said a Dept. of Interior press release.
“Today’s action reflects the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to species conservation based on the parameters of the law and the best scientific and commercial data available,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “After more than 45 years as a listed species, the gray wolf has exceeded all conservation goals for recovery. Today’s announcement simply reflects the determination that this species is neither a threatened nor endangered species based on the specific factors Congress has laid out in the law.”
In total, the gray wolf population in the lower 48 states is more than 6,000 wolves, greatly exceeding the combined recovery goals for the Northern Rocky Mountains and Western Great Lakes populations.
Utah's congressional delegation and other public officials also weighed in on the delisting announcement.
“The Department of the Interior should be commended for its work in recovering and delisting the gray wolf in the lower 48 states,” said Senator Mike Lee. “Multiple states, including Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington already manage healthy and sustainable gray wolf populations. Now, under expanded state management, impacted communities will be able to determine how best to preserve gray wolf populations while protecting other native species and livestock.”
"The gray wolf is one of the most successful species recoveries in history, despite the mounds of federal red tape and abusive litigation preventing this long-overdue delisting,” said U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (UT-01). “It's unfortunate it took this long for the federal government to turn management back to the states, when in fact state management and expertise is what got us to where we are today. Once again, the Trump Administration and Interior leadership took action to move good policy forward."
“Delisting is, and should be, the goal of the ESA,” said U.S. Representative Chris Stewart (UT-02). "With the delisting of the gray wolf, the administration is meeting that goal, and that success is something worth celebrating. When a species is no longer threatened, it ought to be quickly delisted.”
“The State of Utah applauds the delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act. States are often best positioned to appropriately manage wildlife populations. With the number of wolves growing across the West, we believe it is time to allow the states to take the helm. Utah has shown great success in growing and maintaining wildlife populations statewide, and we anticipate similar success in managing wolf populations,” said Utah Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Brian Steed.
“I'm very appreciative of the Trump administration's timely transfer of the management responsibility of the gray wolf back to the states. We look forward to working with organizations within our state to implement the state of Utah's Wolf Management Plan,” said Utah Department of Agriculture and Food Commissioner Logan Wilde.
“The Trump Administration and Secretary Bernhardt have, with this action today, continued to restore the balance needed in actually recovering endangered species, in this case, the gray wolf,” said Commissioner Tammy Pearson, Beaver County, Utah.
Over 1,600 species remain on the federal threatened and endangered list. Delisting the gray wolf allows the Department of the Interior to focus resources on other species in need of recovery.