Feds End Protections for Gray Wolves in Midst of Biodiversity Crisis

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Endangered Species Act Rule

WASHINGTON – The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a rule today, to strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protections in the Lower-48 states. Under the Endangered Species Act requirements, USFWS is responsible for implementing national recovery plans for endangered gray wolves until they are no longer in danger of extinction, but the agency has never presented a national plan to ensure wolves’ recovery throughout their full range.    

The following is a statement from Dr. Sylvia Fallon, Senior Director of Wildlife at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

“You cannot have a national wolf recovery without putting forward a national wolf recovery plan. This still has not happened, so eliminating federal protections for gray wolves is a huge setback in recovery efforts. Decision makers are prioritizing politics over science. Wolves are still missing from much of their remaining habitat in the West and throughout the Northeast.”    

"As we face a biodiversity crisis of global proportions, it is imperative for us to recognize that this isn’t just about wolves. The fate of humanity is intertwined with the fate of species and healthy ecosystems. Now is the time to restore species to the landscape – not dial back efforts. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has decided on the exact opposite.”  


In 2019, the USFWS announced its second proposal in five years to strip gray wolves of Endangered Species Act protections in the Lower-48 states. The Endangered Species Act requires that the agency implement a national recovery plan for the wolf until it is no longer in danger of extinction.     

More on Wolves:    

Fish and Wildlife Service Robs Gray Wolf of Endangered Species Protections 
A Bar Too Low: National Wolf Delisting      
One Key to National Wolf Recovery: Protecting “Dispersers”    
Wolves and Livestock: Tools Like Turbo Fladry Prevent Losses

Additional Resources:  

The loss of biodiversity and cultural diversity go hand-in-hand and wolves not only play an important ecological role, but also a significant cultural role for many Indigenous communities. For more information on Tribal opposition to the delisting please see the following:    

Global Indigenous Council Wolf Treaty   
Global Indigenous Council Letter Opposing Delisting  
Oneida Nation Letter Opposing Delisting  
Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs Letter Opposing Delisting  
Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s association Letter Opposing Delisting   
Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Comment Letter Opposing Delisting  
Rocky Mountain Tribal Leader Council Letter Opposing Delisting  
Native Justice Coalition Letter Opposing Delisting  


NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​



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