By now most of us who care about wolves have heard that Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel has given the final go ahead to delist Grey wolves throughout the United States. The exception is a moribund Mexican Wolf Recovery Program in a small section of Arizona and New Mexico.
This is the penultimate step in a long running effort of the Bush and Obama Administration to reverse the recovery of wolves in the lower forty-eight, and a rank capitulation to conservative economic and social interests hostile to wildlife and the environment.
The federal and several state governments have a long history of failing to convince the public or the courts that that gerrymandered maps and minimalist definitions of recovery fulfill the letter or spirit of the Endangered Species Act, the National Environemntal Protection Act, much less our moral responsibility to recover wolves.
The Final Rule delisting wolves was published in the Federal Register on 13 June 2013. Public comment is open for a subsequent 90 days to 11 September 2013. The rule would be implemented sometime in 2014. See this USFWS Gray Wolf Recovery website for more information.
Time and again the public has flooded such proposed rules with comments seeking the full protection of wolves, and I do not expect that to change. Whether or not that will sway the Obama administration is another matter.
The final chapter of contemporary wolf recovery efforts looks to be drawing to a close.
Image: National Public Radio. 2011. Gray Wolf In Cross Hairs Again After Delisting, 23 June.