There’s Good News and Bad News in the War on Wolves

In good news for wolves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently announced it has officially restored the wolves’ federal protection in Wyoming, the Great Lakes region and surrounding states. Unfortunately, new legislation threatens to undo this victory and put wolves right back in the crosshairs.

The FWS announcement follows two federal court rulings in the wolves’ favor. The first came for Wyoming’s wolves in September after a judge concluded that the state’s wolf management plan failed to ensure the long-term survival of the population. The rest of the states where protection was restored are the result of a December ruling that concluded delisting wolves and handing management over to the states was a violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Now gray wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are listed as endangered and wolves in Minnesota are listed as threatened, which will effectively shut down trophy hunting and trapping seasons.

While getting protection back is a big victory, it comes after hundreds have already been mercilessly killed in these states since they were stripped of protection in 2012. The recent confirmation of the death of Echo, the lone wolf who managed to travel from the Northern Rockies to the Grand Canyon before being shot and killed in Utah, only offers more sad proof that wolves are still trying to disperse and establish new territories but won’t be able to expand to more of their historic range if they’re left unprotected.

“The gray wolf is recovered in less than 10 percent of its historic range and facing continued persecution. The courts got it right: Gray wolves clearly continue to need the protection of the Endangered Species Act,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re glad the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today officially acknowledged gray wolves’ endangered status.”

The bad news is that this victory may only be temporary thanks to two recently introduced pieces of legislation. The first (HR 884) seeks to permanently remove protection in Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming, which will leave nearly 4,000 wolves at the mercy of states that have already proved wolves are not welcome on the landscape and that they shouldn’t be left to manage them.

The second (HR 843) would prevent wolves from ever getting any protection under the ESA again in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Needless to say the stakes on these bills are very high. Wolf and wildlife advocates fear that if passed, this legislation will not only be a disaster for wolf recovery, but that it will also set a dangerous precedent and lead to more efforts to remove protection from imperiled species based on nothing more than politics.

Wolf advocates believe the decision to remove wolves should be based on sound science and scientists have weighed in with their opposition. Last week 50 scientists and wildlife biologists signed on to a letter urging Congress to oppose any legislation that would take away protection under the ESA, arguing that it’s still too soon.

Take Action!

Please sign and share the petition urging Congress to keep politics out of wolf recovery by opposing this anti-wolf legislation.


Photo credit: Thinkstock


Mark Donners
Mark Donner3 years ago

Why is that psychopaths always get into politics?

Dianne D.
Dianne D3 years ago

petition signed

Mona E.
Mona E4 years ago

Petition signed. I'll sign a thousand petitions if need be to save this magnificient animal from being hunted. I'm just amazed at how many "grow-ups" still believe in the fairy tale of the big bad wolf.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

I want to know why the government (ie repugnicans) is still sticking its nose in the wildlife business. They are the ones who started the entire war on wolves because of their darn rancher buddies. Only money can bring out so much hatred on an animal that they want it intentionally hunted to extinction.

Ei A.
Eileen A4 years ago

Petition signed.

Magdalena J.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you!

Brian Schrader
Govannon T4 years ago

The wolf is one of my spirit guides, therefore, I support anything that gives them protection.

Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin4 years ago

Let's keep fighting!

Nimue Pendragon

Save all the wolves! Petition signed. Thank you.