Governor Gordon: Federal Review of Gray Wolf "Disappointing"

Governor Gordon: Federal Review of Gray Wolf “Disappointing”

Written by on February 6, 2022

Governor Mark Gordon is at odds with the U.S. Department of the Interior as they begin a review that could change the conservation status of the gray wolf.

In a Jan. 31 letter, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Matthew Hogan published an open letter. In the letter, Hogan acknowledges two petitions submitted to the Interior Department asking for a status review of wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region.

The department conducted a 90-day evaluation of “a distinct population segment” of the gray wolf in response to these petitions. Recent killings of nearly 30 Yellowstone wolves in Montana have prompted a call for the wolf’s endangered species status to be restored.

“Our finding concluded that the petitions presented substantial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted,” Hogan writes. “Therefore, we have initiated a status review to determine whether the petitioned actions are warranted.”

In response, the Interior Department has announced a 12-month status review of gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will deliver the finding to the Federal Register by Sept. 30, 2022.

Governor Gordon has issued a statement responding to the letter, expressing his disappointment that wolves may be under federal protection once again.

“Secretary Haaland’s decision is very disappointing and indicates a strong disconnect between Washington D.C and realities on the ground. In Wyoming, wolves have been successfully managed by our state’s wildlife experts since regaining authority in 2017. I firmly stand behind our state wolf management plan that has served as our guide to ensure a viable, healthy population for a species that has met all recovery criteria for nearly two decades. Managing Wyoming’s wildlife from Washington D.C is not a good model and is counter to the intent of the Endangered Species Act. I urge the Secretary to ensure that the status review is grounded in science and recognizes the states’ strong track record effectively managing this species.”

The gray wolf lost its endangered species status in October 2020 during the Trump Administration. A year later, the Biden Administration asked a California federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to restore that status. This action was seen as the Biden Administration upholding the delisting.

Regardless of the department’s finding, any decision on the status of the gray wolf is likely to be years away.


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