Recently, US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a very interesting report on wolves in America. It appears that the service may be backing away from aggressive wolf expansion plans in most areas in America. There are a few exceptions where more wolves may be required by USFWS. Here is a quick summary:
(1) Expanded Wolf Delisting in the lower 48: The report suggests that gray wolves could be removed from endangered status and wolf hunting could continue in the lower 48 states.
“The 5-year status review recommendation is that the Canis Lupus entity [gray wolves as a species]…should be revised…by removing all areas currently included in the CFR range. In other words, it is time to delist a bunch of states where wolves don’t belong or where they are already recovered.”
(2) Notable Exceptions: So where do wolves belong according to the report? Here are some potential areas being reviewed by US Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Status review for gray wolves in the Pacific Northwest and for the eastern wolf…are also ongoing…the outcomes of these reviews will identify which, if any, gray wolves should continue to receive protections under the ESA.”
(3) Mexican Wolves in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas: The report shows what appears to be a new Mexican wolf boundary which includes portions of Arizona, New Mexico and extends into Texas. See page 5 of the report to view the map.
While this report is advisory in nature, a few very interesting conclusions are included in the report. These recommendations come from the summary on page 22 of the report which can be found at: http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/five_year_review/doc3978.%20lupus%205-YR%20review%20PDF.pdf
Here is the full written version of the USFWS wolf report summary on page 22:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
5-Year Review of
Lower 48-State and Mexico Gray wolf (Canis lupus) Listing, as revised
Current Classification: Endangered
Recommendation resulting from the 5-Year USFWS Wolf Review:
The 5-year status review and recommendation is that the Canis lupus entity [gray wolf species] should be revised to reflect the distribution and status of C. lupus populations in the lower 48 States and Mexico by removing all areas currently included in the CFR range except where there is a valid species, or subspecies, or DPS that is threatened or endangered. A 12-month finding on the petition to reclassify gray wolves in the Southwest as a subspecies or DPS will be completed by September 30, 2012. Status reviews for gray wolves in the Pacific Northwest and for the eastern wolf, both initiated on May 5, 2011 are also ongoing and we anticipate completing these by September 30, 2012 as well. The outcome of these reviews will identify which, if any, gray wolves should continue to receive protections under the ESA. Because we are in the process of identifying subspecies or populations that may continue to warrant protection under the ESA, we recommend that the listing status of the gray wolf remain intact until these regional reviews are complete.