|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
October 17, 2005
CONCLUDES THAT DELISTING THE GRAY WOLF
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found that two petitions asking the Service to remove the northern Rocky Mountain population of the gray wolf from the Federal list of threatened and endangered species present substantial information to indicate that delisting of this population may be warranted.
Today’s finding is made in response to two petitions – a 2001 petition from the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, Inc., and a July 19, 2005, petition from the Office of the Governor of the State of Wyoming and the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.
The Service’s positive initial 90-day finding will be followed by a more complete
12-month status review of all available data on the Rocky Mountain population. The review will consider whether the population meets the criteria for delisting as a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) under the Endangered Species Act.
This finding does not alter the Service’s 2003 conclusion that the State of Wyoming’s existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to protect the gray wolf population within its borders in the event that the wolf is delisted. We will review this issue during the
12-month status review and continue to work with the State of Wyoming to ensure that the State’s statutes and wolf management plan contain adequate protections for the gray wolf.
Today’s finding was not affected by recent litigation involving challenges to the Service’s 2003 reclassification of gray wolf populations from endangered to threatened throughout much of the species’ current range in the United States, including the northern Rocky Mountains. The Service is still evaluating its legal options after recent court decisions invalidated that reclassification, and has made no decision on whether to appeal those rulings.
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