Chair Grijalva Praises Court Decision to Restore Endangered Species Act Protections for Gray Wolf

Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today issued the following statement following yesterday’s federal district court decision to restore federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for gray wolves in much of the lower 48 states. These protections were removed following a Trump administration decision to delist the gray wolf in late 2020, a move that was strongly criticized for lacking both scientific evidence and public support.

The court decision does not restore protections for gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain region, an area that covers Yellowstone National Park. A portion of the Northern Rocky Mountain population was delisted in 2011 by congressional action, with the remainder being delisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 2017. FWS is currently conducting a 12-month review to determine if this population of gray wolves should be relisted under the Endangered Species Act. In the meantime, gray wolves are under serious threat from hunting and trapping activity; this season alone, 23 wolves have been killed near Yellowstone, bringing the park population down to only 91 wolves.

“Yesterday’s court decision to protect gray wolves couldn’t have come soon enough; gray wolf populations are already falling at rates that are unsound and unsustainable,” Grijalva said. “The gray wolf is not just an icon of American wildlife, it is one of the important keystone species our ecosystem needs to stay healthy and thriving, especially in the face of climate change. While this is an important victory for gray wolves, we need to ensure the Northern Rocky Mountain population receives the protections it needs as well.”  

On Dec. 15, 2021, Chair Grijalva, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) led a bipartisan letter with dozens of other lawmakers to the U.S. Department of the Interior urging an emergency listing to temporarily restore federal protections for the gray wolf.

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