Great Lakes Wolves Endangered Species Success Story

Delisting in Northern Rockies Premature

01-29-2007 // Aislinn Maestas

WASHINGTON, DC -- The wolf's return in the Great Lakes region is one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the annals of wildlife conservation. The Endangered Species Act charted the path for the successful recovery of the gray wolf in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Act also made possible the recovery of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies, but the vitality of wolves in this region are not yet ensured in the absence of continued federal protection because some states have not put adequate safeguards in place for their continued protection. Therefore delisting the wolf across the board in this region is premature.

Just a few decades ago the 200 or so surviving wolves in the lower 48 states faced extinction. The Endangered Species Act protected the small remaining population of gray wolves in northern Minnesota in 1974, and from that population, wolves have recovered naturally throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan meeting the recovery goals under the ESA.

The Endangered Species Act has achieved another major success with the recovery of this population of gray wolves. All of the recovery goals for gray wolves in the Great Lake States have been met or exceeded.

The Fish and Wildlife Service deserves praise for its years of effort, often under great political pressure, to nurture wolves back to health in the Upper Midwest. The success of wolf recovery has come about by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working cooperatively with the state wildlife departments in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The state management plans will ensure the long-term survival of the gray wolf for future generations to enjoy.

Now that we have achieved success in this region, we can bring new attention and resources to expansion of wolf recovery efforts in suitable habitat in the Northeast and across the West. NWF sees this final rule as a true example of the Endangered Species Act potential and urges the Service to expand efforts on both the federal and state levels to see wolves on the ground in other regions of suitable habitat. This rule does not affect gray wolves in the West (Northern Rocky Mountains), in the Southwest or anywhere outside the Western Great Lakes region."

Contact: Tom France 406-721-6705 or John Kostyack, 202-797-6879

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