U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquiesced to her concerns to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will open a 90-day comment period on the proposal to seek additional scientific, commercial and technical information from the public and other interested parties. Senator Heitkamp led a letter in March supporting the nationwide delisting of wolves.
"The comment period is a step in the right direction towards
removing the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list," said Heitkamp. "The
bottom line is wolves are no longer endangered, therefore they do not warrant
federal protections. State wildlife officials have their hands tied anytime
wolves are involved and by delisting wolves we will lift the federal burden of
a bureaucratic system that doesn't work for our states. Wolf management
decisions should be made at the state, not the federal level."
Absent the delisting of the species, land managers and
property owners are handcuffed in their ability to encourage healthy wildlife
populations and care for livestock herds.
The proposal comes after a comprehensive review confirmed
its successful recovery following management actions undertaken by federal,
state and local partners following the wolf's listing under the Endangered
Species Act over three decades ago. Under the proposed delisting, the
Service would maintain protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican
wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest, where it remains endangered.