In the next 2-3 months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across nearly the entire lower-48 states. This would be disastrous for gray wolf recovery in the United States.
The recovery of gray wolves is an American success story, from their reintroduction in the northern Rocky Mountains to their comeback in the western Great Lakes states. But there are few, if any, gray wolves in the vast majority of their former range. If the Fish and Wildlife Service removes federal protections, wolves in the Pacific Northwest, California, the southern Rocky Mountains, and the Northeast will face even more difficult odds than they do already.
In 2011, Congress stripped federal protections for gray wolves in most of the northern Rockies. The brutal assault on wolves that commenced in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho highlights the increasingly hostile anti-wolf policies of states now charged with ensuring the survival of gray wolf populations.
- Idaho, Wyoming and Montana Total Reported Killed This Season: 622
- Idaho, Wyoming and Montana Total Reported Killed Since Delisting: 1,170
Maintaining federal protections for wolves across the lower-48 states is important for preserving already limited opportunities for wolves to recover in additional parts of the United States.
California’s famous lone wolf, OR-7—also known as “Journey,” has spent the past six weeks traveling in Oregon before doubling back and returning briefly to California, where he flirted with Interstate 5 near Yreka, California for the first time.
Each time he enters California OR-7 reclaims his stature as the only known gray wolf since 1924.
Without federal protections, and no certainty of state protections, Journey may have a target on his back! In 2012, EPIC joined with several conservation allies in petitioning to add the gray wolf to the list of protected species under the California Endangered Species Act. The Fish and Game Commission voted to move forward with a full status review for the Gray Wolf under CESA, to determine whether to protect the species.