Published since 1946
Trump Administration Seeks to Delist Gray Wolf, Return Management to States, Tribes
Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced on March 6 that the Trump Administration will seek to lift endangered species protection for the gray wolf in the Lower 48 states, a move long sought by state officials and ranchers. The announcement was made during Acting Secretary Bernhardt’s speech at the 84th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference in Denver, hosted by the Wildlife Management Institute.
Wolves were first protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1975. Efforts to re-establish wolves in the United States began in 1995 when wolves from Canada were brought to Yellowstone National Park and the mountains of central Idaho. Nationally, gray wolf numbers in the lower 48 have grown from about 1,000 — all in northern Minnesota — to more than 5,000 in the contiguous U.S. The proposal would give states the authority to hold wolf hunting and trapping seasons. Wolves had previously lost federal protections in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
Trump is not the first president whose administration has sought the removal of endangered species protections for gray wolves. The George W. Bush and Obama administrations made similar proposals, but environmental organizations filed lawsuits and courts ruled against de-listing gray wolves as proposed.