A federal judge in California has restored federal protections to gray wolf populations in the Lower 48 (as this wording is a little confusing, note that this ruling does not affect wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming).
“The NRA is disappointed with the court’s ruling to restore federal protections for long-since-recovered gray wolf populations and will continue fighting to see the species’ management returned to the states where it belongs,” said Michael Jean, director of the Office of Litigation Counsel for NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), who has worked on the lawsuit directly on behalf of the NRA and its 5 million members. “Though wildlife biologists and other wildlife management professionals declared the gray wolf to be recovered for over a decade—a move that should have been celebrated—courts have ignored the fact that wolf populations have exceeded recovery goals and keep relisting the species.”
The science community under both the Obama and Trump administrations previously determined wolves to be a recovered species and removed populations from Endangered Species Act protections in 2011 and 2020. Yet both times, judges intervened to frustrate the process.
Wolf population estimates fly in the face of the latest ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of Oakland. They are well above state management plan levels in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, while topping all-time modern day levels in Oregon and Washington. Additionally, there are established wolf packs in California, Colorado and verified sightings in other states.
As a matter of information, there are also 7,000-11,000 wolves in Alaska and approximately 60,000 in Canada.
Radical environmental groups also called for the restoration of ESA protections in the Northern Rockies where estimated wolf populations are 900 percent above minimum recovery levels in Idaho, 700 percent above in Montana and more than 200 percent in Wyoming. The ruling, however, does not affect wolves in those states, where populations remain under state management.