Last week, a coalition of 70 groups filed a formal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-list the gray wolf on the Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf has been protected under the Act since 1978, and since then, wolf populations have risen in several states, including California, Illinois, Minnesota, and many others.
On January fourth of this year, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the gray wolf had recovered to the point that it was no longer an endangered species. That means management of wolf populations would return to the states. The Sierra Nevada Daily says the petition calls for the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect wolves in the Western U.S. as a “Distinct Population Segment.”
The groups say that wolves remain completely absent from suitable habitats or perilously close to extinction in many western states, and the handful of states surrounding Yellowstone National Park are now driving the larger populations toward extinction. The petitioners also point out that, “The American West has vast tracts of public lands that offer the ideal habitat for gray wolves. To return the wolf and restore the balance of nature, it is necessary to apply federal protections that supersede anti-wolf state politics that push wolf populations toward extinction rather than recovery.”