Photo: Gray wolf. Credit: Gary Kramer / USFWS
Photo Caption: Gray wolf. Credit: Gary Kramer / USFWS

Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

Trump Administration Returns Management and Protection of Gray Wolves to States and Tribes Following Successful Recovery Efforts

More than 45 years after gray wolves were first listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Trump Administration and its many conservation partners are announcing the successful recovery of the gray wolf and its delisting from the ESA. State and tribal wildlife management agency professionals will resume responsibility for sustainable management and protection of delisted gray wolves in states with gray wolf populations, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitors the species for five years to ensure the continued success of the species.

The Service based its final determination solely on the best scientific and commercial data available, a thorough analysis of threats and how they have been alleviated and the ongoing commitment and proven track record of states and tribes to continue managing for healthy wolf populations once delisted. This analysis includes the latest information about the wolf's current and historical distribution in the contiguous United States.

In total, the gray wolf population in the lower 48 states is more than 6,000 wolves, greatly exceeding the combined recovery goals for the Northern Rocky Mountains and Western Great Lakes populations.

This final rule excludes Mexican wolves as that species remains listed under the ESA. The final rule published in the Federal Register on November 3, 2020, and will be effective 60 days after on January 4, 2021.

The gray wolf is the latest in a strong list of ESA recoveries that includes the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, American alligator, brown pelican and 48 other species of animals and plants in U.S. states, territories and waters. Countless more have improved or stabilized. Collectively, these successes demonstrate that the ESA can make a difference for imperiled species.

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Frequently Asked Questions »

Final Rule »

History of Federal Actions

News Release »
Frequently Asked Questions »
Peer Review Plan and Peer Review Report »
Peer Review Statement of Work »
Bulletin 60-day Extension »
Bulletin Hearing Notice »
Proposed Rule »

Additional Wolf Resources

Gray Wolf species profile »

Regional Information 

Mountain-Prairie Region »¬†

Midwest Region »¬†

Southwest Region »