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Back in June, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed to remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout most of the lower 48 U.S. states–making an exception only for Mexican wolf subspecies (C.l. baileyi). On Tuesday, the Public Lands Council, NCBA and many of our affiliates submitted comments on the FWS’s proposed rule.
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), to be classified as endangered, the species must be in danger of extinction throughout all or at the very least a significant portion of the populations range. For the gray wolf, that’s not the case. The gray wolf has made a successful recovery since being listed under the ESA over three decades ago, occupying an extensive range in more than 40 countries. In many of these areas, specifically across Alaska, Canada and the Pacific Northwest, the wolf faces very few threats. As of now, the gray wolf is listed using the Canadian border to define its natural habitat, regardless of its immense and extensive population north of the border.
Consequently, as the service has recognized in the proposed rule, the group of animals listed in 1978 “does not represent a valid ‘species’ under the Act.” Under these circumstances, it would be unlawful for the service to allow the current gray wolf listing to remain effective, further validating the decision to delist the wolf.