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Service Concludes that Delisting the Gray Wolf in the Northern Rocky Mountains may be Warranted
October 17, 2005
After evaluating two recent petitions asking the Service to remove the northern Rocky Mountain population of the gray wolf from the Federal list of threatened and endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that substantial information exists indicating that delisting of this population may be warranted.
Today's finding is made in response to two petitions -- a 2001 petition from the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd , Inc., and a July 19, 2005 petition from the Office of the Governor of the State of Wyoming and the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.
The Service's positive 90-day finding will be followed by a more complete 12-month status review of all available data on the Rocky Mountain population of the gray wolf.
The review will consider whether the population meets the criteria for delisting as a Distinct Population Segment under the Endangered Species Act.
This finding does not alter the Service's 2003 conclusion that the State of Wyoming's existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to protect the gray wolf population within its borders in the event that the wolf is delisted.
The Service will review this issue during the 12-month status review and continue to work with the State of Wyoming to ensure that the State's statutes and wolf management plan contain adequate post-delisting protections for the gray wolf.
Today's finding was not affected by recent litigation involving challenges to the Service's 2003 reclassification of gray wolf populations from endangered to threatened throughout much of the species' current range in the United States, including the northern Rocky Mountains.
The Service is still evaluating its legal options after recent lower court decisions invalidated that reclassification. No decision has been made on whether to appeal those rulings.
For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov/
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