The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has officially moved to eliminate the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species. A 90-day comment period now begins for proposals seeking additional scientific, commercial, and technical information. Under the plan, state wildlife management agencies will assume responsibility for management and protection of the species. The Mexican wolf will remain on the endangered list.
The proposal comes after a review determined that the listing for the gray wolf mistakenly included large swaths of land outside the species' historical range.
From the brink of extinction, the gray wolf has bounced back to exceed population targets by over 300 percent in the last 35 years.
“An exhaustive review of the latest scientific and taxonomic information shows that we have accomplished that goal with the gray wolf, allowing us to focus our work under the ESA on recovery of the Mexican wolf subspecies in the Southwest," USFWS director Dan Ashe announced.
State wildlife management agencies have responded by supporting the federal directive. "Oregon is ready to take on further responsibility for wolf management in this state,” Roy Elicker, director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced. "Oregon is supportive of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishing a proposed rule to begin this dialogue, and we look forward to participating in the scientific review process."
Earlier this year, a hunter sparked outrage after killing Yellowstone's most famous wolf.