Story at a glance

  • Two coalitions of conservation groups filed formal notices of their intent to sue the U.S. Interior Department over the move unless the protections are restored.
  • The notices are required under the Endangered Species Act and start a 60-day clock after which the groups can file lawsuits in federal court.
  • The Department of Interior late last month announced the gray wolf would be delisted following the agency’s determination the species is no longer threatened or endangered.

Wildlife conservation groups are challenging the Trump administration’s move to lift endangered species protections for the gray wolf across the United States. 

The Associated Press reports that two coalitions of groups have filed formal notices over the past several days of their intent to sue the U.S. Interior Department in federal court unless protections under the Endangered Species Act are restored to the wild animals. 


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The notices are required under the Endangered Species Act and start a 60-day clock after which the groups can file lawsuits in federal court. 

“The Trump administration shut the door to wolf recovery, even as the science shows that wolves are too imperiled and ecologically important to abandon,” Colette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “We’re taking the fight to the courts, and I’m confident we can restore the Endangered Species Act’s lifesaving protections for gray wolves across the nation.” 

The Department of Interior late last month announced the gray wolf would be delisted following the agency’s determination that the species is no longer threatened or endangered. Management of the gray wolf is poised to be turned over to individual states, many of which would likely allow hunting of the animal. 

All gray wolves in the lower 48 states except for a small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico have been removed.

The gray wolf has had endangered species protections since the 1970s after the wolves were nearly wiped out across the U.S. during the 1900s due to loss of habitat and hunting. 

The gray wolf population in the lower 48 states is currently more than 6,000, with more than 4,000 in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and some 2,000 in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Prior to their near extinction, the wolves were present in most parts of the country. 

Just last week, Colorado voters approved a measure to reintroduce the species into the state where the animals were eradicated by the mid-1940s. It was the first time the decision to reintroduce a species into the wild was made at the ballot box.


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Published on Nov 09, 2020