Noble Wolf, © Larry Gambon
Congress Wants to Remove Great Lakes and Wyoming Wolves from the Endangered Species Act: This week, Representative Reid Ribble and several other congressmen announced that they will sponsor legislation to eliminate federal protections for wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming. This legislation comes only weeks after courts set aside rules that delisted wolves in those regions, keeping wolves protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. At Defenders we strongly believe Congress has no place meddling in wildlife management decisions that should be left to biologists and wildlife managers, but Congress has a bad track record of doing just that. In 2011, a congressional rider delisted gray wolves in Idaho, Montana, northern Utah and the eastern two thirds of Oregon and Washington, giving wolf management control to each state. The text of this new bill has been drafted, but it has yet to be introduced. We fear that there may be attempts to modify the language to delist wolves entirely in the lower 48 states. We’ll keep you updated here as we learn more.

yellowstone wolf, © Barrett Hedges/NGS

Rogue Pack in Oregon Has a New Neighbor: Last week we told you that famous wolf OR-7 and his family were unique in Oregon because they were the only wolves living in the western part of the state. This week, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s trail cameras captured a picture of a wolf in the Southwest portion of Oregon, near the same area where the Rouge pack – a.k.a OR-7 and his family – are living. The new wolf, which is uncollared, was spotted on camera while the Rogue pack was known to be elsewhere. This is great news and suggests to wildlife officials that wolves are continuing to spread to suitable habitat throughout the state and ever closer to California – a strong indication of recovery.

Wolf Recovery Team Joins in Yellowstone to Celebrate 20 Years of Success: This weekend, conservationists, biologists and National Park Service employees all gathered in Yellowstone National Park to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the reintroduction of wolves to the region. These folks, all members of the original team that worked to bring wolves back to Yellowstone 20 years ago, spent Monday wolf watching in the park. And the wolves must have known the team was here to celebrate because experienced wolf watchers described Monday as one of the best wolf watching days they’ve had in over 15 years. The first sighting was a wolf from the Junction Butte pack, and later in the day, reintroduction team members were fortunate to see eleven wolves from the Prospect pack. The wolves were close enough to see without scopes, and their playful howls echoed around the group. The celebration concluded with a ceremony at the Roosevelt Arch – the location where the first wolves entered the park 20 years ago to the day.
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Yellowstone wolf return, Left: © Diane Papineau, Right: ©Defenders of Wildlife
Left: In 1995, supporters of wolf reintroduction line the road, waiting to welcome the truck carrying wolves to Yellowstone. Right: Wolf return ceremony at Yellowstone arch, January 12, 2015.

Mexican gray wolves listed as subspecies; Defenders challenges new rule: This week the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that Mexican gray wolves will continue to be protected as a subspecies under the Endangered Species Act. The Service also released the final version of new management rules for Mexican gray wolves. We have been following this process closely, and many of you have joined us in writing comments to the Service to tell them what the lobos need. While the new rule does some good by giving lobos more room to roam, unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good. The new rule keeps lobos out of habitat that is crucial to recovery, allows more killing and caps the population at an unjustifiable low. Defenders has teamed up with conservation partners to challenge the Service’s rule in court so that we can get lobos on the real road to recovery!