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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



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

This Final Rule is no longer in effect due to the January 31, 2005, ruling from the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon and a similar ruling from the Vermont District Court.


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.


Information about the U.S. District Court in Oregon Decision on Wolf Reclassification


Vermont District Court Ruling (PDF)


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