Once again, federal wildlife officials say their numbers have rebounded. But conservationists may go back to court to fight the move.
By Jim Robbins
March 6, 2019
HELENA, Mont. — Federal wildlife officials are proposing to strip endangered species protections from the gray wolf populations in the Lower 48 states, citing significant increases in their numbers across much of the nation.
The decision, announced on Wednesday by David Bernhardt, the acting secretary of the Interior Department, is likely to set off another round of court battles. Conservationists and biologists contend that some areas of the country, like the Adirondacks in New York and the southern Rocky Mountains, could be suitable habitats but wolf populations in those regions are vulnerable and still need protection to recover.
The gray wolf populations had dwindled to about 1,000 in the Lower 48 states when they received protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1975. But since their reintroduction to various regions, mostly in the West, the wolves’ numbers have rebounded to about 5,000.
“Recovery of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act