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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


This Final Rule is no longer in effect.

On January 31, 2005, the Oregon U.S. District Court issued an opinion and order on our 2003 reclassification rule. The Oregon ruling concluded that the 2003 DPS boundaries and reclassification decisions were "arbitrary and capricious" and violated the Endangered Species Act. The Court's ruling invalidated the April 2003 changes. The Vermont District Court Adobe PDF Icon ruled similarly. Therefore, the ESA status illustrated in the map below is no longer valid, and the Service currently considers the gray wolf to have reverted back to the ESA status that existed prior to the 2003 reclassification.


April 1, 2003 Final Rule to Reclassify/Delist the Gray Wolf DPS

Map of Distinct Population Segments Esablished in 2003 Final Rule

On April 1, 2003, three Gray Wolf Distinct Population Segments were designated: Eastern, Western, and Southwestern. The Eastern and Western Distinct Population Segments were designated as threatened and the Southwestern Distinct Population Segment remained endangered. The map below shows the three gray wolf distinct population segments.


PDF Version Adobe PDF Icon


Map showing ESA status of gray wolves.


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