April 1, 2003 Final Rule to Reclassify/Delist the Gray Wolf
Service Will Not Appeal U.S. District Court Decisions On Gray Wolf Delisting
Statement of Craig Manson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks (Dec. 16, 2005)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not appeal U.S. District Court decisions earlier this year striking down the Service's reclassification of gray wolf populations from endangered to threatened for much of the species' current range in the United States, although we continue to believe the reclassification was both biologically and legally sound. We are exploring options for managing wolf populations that comply with the Courts' rulings, while recognizing, as the courts did, that the Yellowstone and Great Lakes wolf populations have reached the recovery goals necessary for delisting.
The Department of the Interior plans to issue separate, proposed rules to delist new distinct population segments of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes as early as possible in 2006. Both proposed rules will have public comment periods lasting 90 days.
In the meantime, gray wolves will continue to be managed as they were prior to the 2003 reclassification. Gray wolves in Minnesota are classified as threatened, as a result of a 1978 reclassification. Gray wolves in the remaining 47 conterminous states and Mexico are endangered, except where they are listed as part of an Experimental Population for reintroduction purposes in the northern Rockies and parts of the Southwest. Citizens with concerns about wolf management should contact the Fish and Wildlife Service or their State wildlife agency for clarification of what actions are currently allowed under the management designation in effect where they live.