U.S. says some gray wolves no longer need Endangered Species Act protection

The U.S. government announced yesterday that it will remove 4,000 gray wolves in the western Great Lakes area from Endangered Species Act protections and work to delist 1,200 others in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Canis lupus management in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin will shift to state and tribal leaders, who are expected to ban trophy hunting for at least five years. Calling coexistence of wolves and humans “a difficult balancing act,” Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett claimed victory: “We have saved this icon of the wilderness.” The love it-or-loathe-it predator has been protected since 1974; its removal marks the 17th time in the 33 years of the Endangered Species Act that a species has been delisted. Some worry that the move is premature, but others are rejoicing. “Any time you have a large vertebrate species down so low as it was when it was listed and come back in such dramatic fashion,” said Jeff Towner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “it’s kind of a red-letter day.”