Judge Restores Federal Protections for Gray Wolves in 44 States
February 16, 2022
The move is heralded as a conservation success but faces criticism from hunters and ranchers
Federal protection for gray wolves has been restored in most of the lower 48 United States. The decision to re-list gray wolves is being hailed as a major conservation victory for the species, which is frequently embroiled in controversy between scientists, hunters and ranchers.
In late 2020, the Trump administration removed gray wolves from the endangered list and stripped their legal protections, citing “the successful recovery of the gray wolf.” The decision was reversed last Thursday by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White, who ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "failed to adequately analyze and consider the impacts of partial delisting and of historical range loss on the already-listed species.”
Attorneys for the Biden administration defended the 2020 decision to remove protections for gray wolves, arguing the species’ populations were resilient enough to recover from hunting, Matthew Brown and John Flesher report for the Associated Press. The Biden administration now has 60 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling.