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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


Litigation on 2011 Wolf Delisting

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Statement


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not comment on active legal action. However, gray wolves are thriving in the western Great Lakes region. When delisted, wolves totaled more than 4,400 animals in the core recovery states – Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin - in the western Great Lakes area. The region's gray wolf population and distribution have exceeded recovery goals since at least 2001 and far exceed minimum population goals in each of the three states. 


Unregulated killing, magnified by the use of bounties, caused the eradication of wolves throughout most of the lower 48 states.   Regulated harvest, under a management scenario that has a goal of sustaining a healthy wolf population, is not a threat to the continued existence of wolves.  We are confident state and tribal wildlife managers will continue to effectively manage healthy wolf populations.


The Service, as is required under the Endangered Species Act, is monitoring the western Great Lakes wolf population (PDF), and if it appears, at any time, that the status of the gray wolf may again warrant the protections of the Endangered Species Act, the Service can initiate the normal or emergency listing process.


The Service believes that the work done to recover wolves and remove them from the list of endangered and threatened species is based on sound science and that delisting the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes accurately reflects the status of the species.


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