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Conserving the Nature of America

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

History of Decline, Protection and Recovery


Proposal to Reclassify/Delist the Gray Wolf in the Lower 48 States

(July 13, 2000)

This proposal was finalized on April 1, 2003, but due to a lawsuit that Final Rule is no longer in effect.

Map of Distinct Population Segments Proposed in 2000

On July 13, 2000, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed reclassifying and delisting the gray wolf in portions of the U.S. The 2000 proposal included establishing 4 gray wolf Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) within the lower 48 states.  Although four DPSs, as identified on the map below, were proposed, three distinct population segments were established by the Final Reclassification/Delisting Rule which was published April 1, 2003.


However, on January 31, 2005, a U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon vacated and enjoined that 2003 Final Rule. Therefore, the Service currently considers the gray wolf to have reverted back to the ESA status that existed prior to the 2003 reclassification.



Gray Wolf DPS Map


Prepare July 2000



Chronology of Federal Actions
Gray Wolves in the Western Great Lakes States