National Wildlife Federation Support for Great Lakes Gray Wolf Delisting Reaffirmed at Annual Meeting

"Great Lakes gray wolves are ready to be declared an Endangered Species Act success story."

At its 79th Annual Meeting, affiliates of the National Wildlife Federation passed a resolution reaffirming the National Wildlife Federation’s support for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to declare Western Great Lakes gray wolves as recovered and ready to be delisted from the Endangered Species Act.

"Western Great Lakes gray wolves are thriving and healthy, have fully recovered, and are ready to be declared an Endangered Species Act success story, celebrated much in the way the bald eagle delisting is recognized as a national success story" said Andy Buchsbaum, vice president of conservation action based in NWF’s Great Lakes Regional Center. "While NWF strongly supports continued gray wolf protections to ensure that wolves are re-established in a significant portion of their historic range, regional recovery needs to be recognized and result in delisting. We’ll continue to consider all options to advance delisting and to restore state gray wolf management authority."

The latest available population counts from 2014 show 2,423 gray wolves in Minnesota, 660 in Wisconsin, and 636 in Michigan, a dramatic increase from just a few hundred along the Minnesota-Ontario border in 1973. Even though gray wolves have exceeded their recovery targets in Michigan and Wisconsin by a factor of ten, judges have repeatedly blocked Fish and Wildlife Service efforts across multiple administrations to delist Western Great Lakes gray wolves.

After delisting, gray wolves would then be managed by state wildlife agency professionals and if their numbers should substantially decline, they can be relisted by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

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