Gray wolves in northern Rockies to remain on endangered list for now
Gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains will remain on the endangered species list for the foreseeable future, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesperson. FWS’ Ed Bangs said Tuesday that the agency will withdraw its rule (released in March) that had declared the gray wolf population in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming recovered and no longer in need of Endangered Species Act protections. In April, environmentalists and wildlife advocates sued to relist the wolves due to concerns that loose hunting rules in the three states would eliminate much of the area’s wolf population and that the much smaller numbers would restrict their genetic diversity. The judge ruled in the groups’ favor, issuing a temporary injunction in July ordering the wolves to be relisted. And now that the FWS has decided to drop its delisting rule (pending approval by the Justice Department), the wolves will remain protected under the ESA until the agency dreams up a new plan. “Hopefully, they’ll go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan that better protects wolves,” said Doug Honnold of Earthjustice.