Ensure Thriving Populations of Wolves

August 31, 2015

Jim Brandenburg/Minden Pictures

Wolves had nearly vanished from all Lower 48 states except Minnesota by the time they were added to the Endangered Species List in 1974. The population has grown since then, but inadequate state-management plans and the premature removal of Endangered Species Act protections in certain places mean their recovery is still fragile today.

NRDC has been fighting to maintain strong wolf safeguards and to ensure populations rebound fully. When Congress removed Montana's and Idaho's wolves from the Endangered Species List in 2011—the first time in the history of the Endangered Species Act, or ESA, that a species had been delisted by Congress—we pressed both states to strengthen their management plans. We testify at hearings, submit comments on plans, and push back against state legislative efforts that facilitate more killings of wolves.

When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would remove Wyoming’s wolves from the Endangered Species List, NRDC and our allies sued and won a federal court ruling saying the agency had failed to follow the law or the best science. Our victories reinstated ESA protections to all wolves in Wyoming.

At the national level, our advocates and scientists monitor the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's shifting approach to wolf management. In June 2013, the agency proposed to remove nearly all the nation’s wolves from the Endangered Species List. We fought back yet again, filing expert comments and working with our partners to help galvanize people to send in nearly one million comments—the most ever submitted on endangered species.

Our experts continue to push for a single national wolf-recovery plan instead of the agency’s patchwork approach to isolated populations. We also document and share proven ways to help people, livestock, and wolves coexist.