Elk NetworkRMEF Supports Bill to Delist Wolves in Lower 48

Conservation | March 4, 2020

Two lawmakers, one Democrat and one Republican, introduced a bill in the U.S. House or Representatives to permanently remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species List.

Reps. Collin C. Peterson (D-Minnesota) and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) maintain the gray wolf population, estimated at approximately 6,000, reached sustainable levels long ago and authority to manage them should be returned to state agencies. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation agrees.

“RMEF strongly supports removing federal protection for gray wolves, allowing them to be appropriately managed by state wildlife agencies through regulated hunting and trapping. Wolf populations are soaring in the Northern Rockies, particularly in Idaho and Montana, where they’re at least 500 percent above established U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recovery goals,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Wolves are significantly impacting elk populations and distribution in certain areas.  Additionally, they cost taxpayers $3.7 million through 2018 in reimbursement to ranchers for livestock killed by wolves, with costs continuing to escalate since then. The situation in the Great Lakes states remains equally urgent, where wolf populations also remain above recovery goals and state wildlife agencies lack management authority. RMEF encourages members of Congress to approve this important legislation without delay.”

Gray wolf populations met delisting criteria years ago in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes states yet reacting to nearly continuous litigation by environmental groups, federal judges returned wolves to federal protection.

The new legislation includes specific language that delisting “shall not be subject to judicial review.”

(Photo source: US Fish and Wildlife Service)