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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Makes Initial Finding on Petitions to Remove Endangered Species Act Protection for Gray Wolves in the Western Great Lakes

(Sept 14, 2010) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that four petitions to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin contain substantial information indicating that delisting may be warranted. The Service will begin an in-depth review of the species status in order to determine whether to propose gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region for delisting.

Today’s decision, known as a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the species available in Service files and provided in the petitions requesting delisting of the species under the ESA. The petition finding does not mean that the Service has decided it is appropriate to remove federal protection under the ESA for gray wolves in these states. Rather, this finding triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information available.

To ensure this status review is comprehensive, the Service is soliciting information from state and federal natural resource agencies and all interested parties regarding the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region. Based on the status review, the Service will decide whether delisting is warranted.

The Service received four petitions to remove ESA protection from the gray wolf in the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The petitions were submitted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Sportsmen’s Alliance, and Safari Club International with the National Rifle Association. The finding responds to all four petitions.

Gray wolves are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in the western Great Lakes, except in Minnesota where they are listed as threatened. The Service removed ESA protection from these wolves in 2009, but subsequently reinstated protection under a court settlement following a lawsuit.

The public may submit information regarding the Service’s status review of the gray wolf by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the box that reads “Enter Keyword or ID,” enter the Docket number for this finding, [FWS-R3-ES-2010-0062]. Check the box that reads “Open for Comment/Submission,” and then click the Search button. You should then see an icon that reads “Submit a Comment.” Please ensure that you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting your comment.
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-insert docket number]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

Comments must be received by November 15, 2010.

For more information about the gray wolf, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov.

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