This bill — the Manage our Wolves Act — would remove the gray wolf in the contiguous 48 states from the protection Endangered Species Act (ESA), effectively allowing states to manage their populations of wolves as has been occurring in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming since the species was delisted in the Northern Rockies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would issue a rule that delists gray wolves from the ESA in the lower 48 states.
The gray wolf was initially listed as “endangered” in 1974 when only a few hundred wild gray wolves remained in Michigan and Minnesota. Reintroduction began in 1995 and they were reclassified to “threatened” in 2003 across the lower 48 states but a 2005 court ruling reversed the change. Since then, the Northern Rockies gray wolves have been delisted from the ESA because of their recovery. Populations are currently estimated at about 3,700 in the Great Lakes region and 1,675 in the Northern Rockies (Alaska has an estimated 7,000 to 11,200 gray wolves that aren’t threatened or endangered).