In a court filing, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that they will be pushing back the decision on removing the gray wolf from its protected status. The move to delist the species was revealed late last month when the LA Times obtained a document from the USFWS that suggests wolf management could be handed over to individual states. At the time it was expected that the final decision could come as early as the end of May, but according to Associated Press, government attorneys appeared in court on Monday stating that “a recent unexpected delay” will be holding up the action indefinitely. For now, no other explanation was given.

Transferring control of the gray wolf over to states is a hotly contested debate between hunters, wildlife officials, animal rights activists, and conservationists on both sides of the fence. Currently, the gray wolf is under the protections granted to an endangered species except in a handful of states. The species is the largest in the canine family and prey predominantly on ungulates like elk, deer, and sometimes cattle. This led to conflicts with humans and by the start of the twentieth century, wolves were essentially extinct in North America. Due to the efforts of conservationists, some 6,000 wolves now live in the lower 48 states, with about 7,000 to 11,000 residing in Alaska. Although they only inhabit a small portion of their former ranges, many consider the wolf to have significantly recovered.

Now state wildlife agencies welcome more authority in conducting their own management plans, which will seek to control the wolf population and limit conflicts with humans as much as possible. Opponents of the delisting feel that the wolves are still vulnerable and it is too soon to remove the animal from its protections.

However, after several states were granted the power to manage their own affairs, it seemed that the USFWS had decided to return the reins to local wildlife departments. When news surfaced that the department planned to make a decision on the fate of the wolves, the debate flared up once again. The draft proposal was considered under review and the agency had planned on seeking public comment before a final decision was made. Now it appears that invested parties will have to return to waiting.

Recently Michigan became the latest state to introduce a wolf hunting season, aimed at managing the roughly 650 wolves in the Upper Peninsula. Residents of the area have long called for a managed hunt as attacks on cattle have increased over the years.

“There’s a wolf problem in the area–I think everybody understands that,” Ironwood city manager Scott Erickson told USA Today. “I’ve never heard anybody say they want to eliminate wolves, but just manage them in an appropriate manner.”

State wildlife officials have set the season to take place in November and December of this year.

Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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5 thoughts on “Nationwide Wolf Delisting Postponed Indefinitely

  1. Wolves are a wonderful unique animal, However, they are top of the food chain predators and are extremely over populated. The other animals in our woods are being devastated by the over populations of wolves. There are over 50,000 wolves accross the US and Canda. That is over double what we should have. They need management just like all other species.

  2. In Minnesota we have wolves everywhere. In the prairie farm country of Wadena, Minnesota we have wolves and they do not restrict themselves to deer! Neither do the mountain lions the brilliant wildlife managers released in the area 5 years ago. The numbers the animal rightists claim are wholly incredible. That would mean their efforts have been futile over the last 30 years. Then the money spent on it has been wholly wasted. LIES! I commonly encounter wolves when I hunt, I have had them howling within 100 yards of me many times. I have had them hunting right under my stand, and I even had one attacking me on a dead run, thinking it was chasing the deer that just ran by me. Luckily for me a warning shot turned it from its course within 20 yards! I wasn’t about to let it figure out I wasn’t the deer the hard way. The only good thing about “prairie wolves” is they are probably keeping the overpopulated coyote somewhat at bay. Nice job USFWS! Not!

  3. Why are there no wolves in Central Park, NY? They can feed on dogs and cats and those urbanites who love these incredible killers can feel the terror of howling and attack from packs of beasts. I love animals in the wild and wolves are no less than terrorist who kill indiscriminately. Every day is Newtown in Yellowstone if you are an elk or deer. The people who want wolves in the wild should have the pleasure of being terrorized by them. Let’s move the wolf population to urban areas. I’ll donate for the transport.

  4. Another ‘near-do well project’ tax payers paid for without a by your leave. Don’t forget the biologist bureaucrats salaries, associated helpers, office staff, vehicles, helicopters, airplanes, telemetry systems, computers, fuel, multiples of facilities, heat+light, on + on + on. Not to forget paying the Canadians for the wolves + all that entailed getting them here; with NO ONES permission that lives here. Just doing “their thing”=any thing they want; on OUR dime. Those ungulates[elk, deer, moose, antelope, buffalo] WE American hunters brought back to hunt; NOT feed wolves, now HALF the ‘ungulate population’ is gone, NOT for OUR pleasure or anything useful. Hunting popularity has been increasing again over the last 20-yrs., so now 1/2 the game is gone in ‘little piles’ all over 7 States just in the Rockies! Wildlife studies w/telemetry is part of my background, so I don’t need to hear about “the natural balance”. All that good wild game helps feed American families is already 1/2 gone, eaten by a geometrically spreading wolf population, what’s next when the game runs way lower yet??? Your dogs, cats, livestock, wife, kids, elderly folks[probably their way to save on Obama-can’t]. The government elites now live in their own class outside + above the real American public; the new plutocrats that look down on you/us because they can, have + do!!! You can’t even fire one, whether Fed, State, County, City or village, IF they belong to a public union or big union connection[ALF-CIO]. WE are now sheep to be ‘pastured for income’ then sheared close and tight! The bureaucrats + entitlement folks actually outnumber us + laugh every pay day, early + full retirement, multiple paid days off, full bennies or all the above w/NO job at all to pretend to do. Politicians, Justices etc are outside + above even these people. WE are nowhere in sight to them, except the guilt some might feel for the obvious illegitimate disparity compared to the real world that pays their way! Many just look down on us ‘common payer class’ peons with no choice, as “ungulates”. Most people love the natural world with the varied + diverse wildlife as the miracle it is. Wolves kill game left + right to live as their population explodes. This is way beyond balancing populations, 1/2 the game is gone now in less than 20-yrs + now wolf populations are through the roof, do the math! If there’s sympathy for the suffering of animals, imagine the TERROR of being run down, torn apart + eaten alive or your helpless offspring??? Think I’d rather get shot with a good rifle using a softnosed/ballistic tipped, partioned for controlled expansion, boattailed bullet! What about the revenue states won’t get now from hunters and the cost of paying for pet + livestock predations??? The population levels listed in this article are way off, with no mention of the numbers now + before of game species very decreased!!! All this was + IS unnecessary but foisted on Americans + THEIR wildlife in the states now affected. This won’t go away, but will get WAY WORSE, spreading further + further every year. Serious issues WILL emerge + these “near-do wells” will NOT be held accountable! WE will be stuck with these problems just like everything else many of these not wanted, unneeded, wasteful make work[FDR/LBJ] ‘jobs’, projects + proposals have + will create! Many people WILL pay an unpayable price, for OUR employees playing with OUR lives WITHOUT-OUR consent on OUR dime…

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