© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
A regional collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Trump Administration Proposes Wolf Delisting

John Fleisher
In Idaho alone, state managers estimate about 900 wolves live across the state.

Acting Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt said Wednesday that his agency wants to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List. 

Bernhardt made the announcement at a wildlife management conference in Denver, but the proposed delisting has not yet been posted to the federal register. 

Wolves have made a strong comeback since first being reintroduced in some western states in the 1990s, but their populations are still fledgling in portions of this historic habitat. The Northern Rocky Mountain population of wolves were delisted in Idaho and Montana in 2011, and their management was turned over to those states. That would be the same scenario across the country, if wolves are delisted nationwide. 

Ranching advocates are cheering the decision. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association issued a statementWednesday, calling the gray wolf’s recovery a “conservation success story.”  

“When the federal government collaborates with state wildlife officials and local land managers, it enhances our ability to protect the wildlife and ecosystems that we all cherish,” the statement reads. “This is exactly how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to work.” 

But environmental groups say there are not enough established wolf packs in states like California and Colorado to warrant the delisting. 

“...wolves are still absent from much of their historic range where there is suitable habitat,” says Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “The work of recovering this iconic species is not done and we will vigorously oppose this action.”

Gavin Shire is with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. He says the public will still have the chance to comment on the potential delisting. 

“At the time which we send this to the federal register, we’ll open up a public comment period so everybody will have the opportunity to weigh in on this decision,” says Shire. “We thoroughly and scientifically research our decisions before we make them, but there’s always the possibility that we missed something so that’s why we solicit public feedback.” 

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho,  KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Amanda Peacher works for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Boise State Public Radio. She's an Idaho native who returned home after a decade of living and reporting in Oregon. She's an award-winning reporter with a background in community engagement and investigative journalism.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.