Trump admin to lift gray wolf endangered species protections

Trump admin to lift gray wolf endangered species protections
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The Trump administration announced it will propose a rule to strip gray wolves of their endangered species protections, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson confirmed in a statement to The Hill. 

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced the decision during the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Denver, the spokesperson said. 

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"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will soon propose a rule to delist the gray wolf in the lower 48 states and return management of the species to the states and tribes," the spokesperson said in a statement. 

"Recovery of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of our nation's great conservation successes, with the wolf joining other cherished species, such as the bald eagle, that have been brought back from the brink with the help of the ESA," the spokesperson added. 

There were about 1,000 gray wolves in the lower 48 states when the wolves received ESA protections in 1975, according to The New York Times. Now there are about 5,000 of them.

The proposed rule is not final and will be open to public comment.

The co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus condemned the proposed rule following the announcement.

“The plan to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species list is deeply concerning," Reps. Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE (R-Fla.) and Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerFirst major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides Ex-GOP lawmakers are face of marijuana blitz MORE (D-Ore.) said in a joint statement. "These iconic creatures are integral to ecosystems across the country and in many regions are beginning a fragile recovery." 

"This proposal would threaten that possibility," they added. 

Some environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, also decried the policy shift. 

Following the announcement, some environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, decried the proposed rule.

"Endangered Species Act protections are still essential to help wolves recover and return to more of the places they once lived," the group tweeted. "The Trump wolf delisting plan will be disastrous for wolf recovery! #StopExtinction" 

The American Farm Bureau Federation applauded the decision regarding the animal that is often a problem for the farming community. 

“This is welcome news to farmers and ranchers. The agency’s intent to delist the gray wolf is a triumph of common sense we all should herald as a conservation success story," President Zippy Duvall said in a statement

"Wolves are not just preying on livestock, but pushing elk and deer onto U.S. farms and ranches, which leads to even more destruction," he added.