Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final rule returning the management of gray wolf populations to the States. This final rule delists the gray wolf from federal protections under the Endangered Species Act, giving state governments the authority to manage gray wolf populations and prevent livestock losses in accordance with state law.
"I applaud the Fish and Wildlife Service for this final rule that delists the gray wolf in the lower 48 states," Rep. Collin Peterson said. "Federal protections restored healthy gray wolf populations years ago, and this rule appropriately returns the management of gray wolves to the states. For years, I have called for this change on behalf of livestock owners and rural communities in Minnesota. This final rule allows Minnesota to set rules and protections for gray wolves that are more responsive to the needs of local communities."
Mike Landuyt, President Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association - "The Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association is excited for the announcement of the delisting of the Gray Wolf. Under the management of the Department of Natural Resources and continued support from Congressman Peterson, the Gray Wolf has successfully exceeded recovery population numbers. The management of the Gray Wolf is now in the hands of state officials who can best manage the population to benefit beef and livestock producers, as well as Gray Wolf habitat in our state. Thank you, Representative Peterson, for listening to our members' needs and leading this effort."
Kevin Paap, Minnesota Farm Bureau President - "Chairman Peterson has tirelessly advocated on behalf of farmers and ranchers to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act. Minnesota Farm Bureau appreciates the leadership of the Chairman to make sure that this issue stayed at the forefront and solutions are found to return the management of gray wolves back to the states. Today's announcement by the federal government is great news for farmers and ranchers in Minnesota.
Gary Wertish, President of Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) - "I want to thank Chairman Peterson for his work to delist the grey wolf in Minnesota. It's important for Minnesota Farmers Union, because many of our family farmer members have lost livestock to wolves. This hurts farmers' bottom line and also often takes an emotional toll, to see an animal you care for get taken and feel like you can't do much about it. It's good to see the administration following Chairman Peterson's lead in returning management to the state."
John Dvorak, Past President of the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers, Past ASI Region III Director - "The Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers are thankful for this long overdue news on delisting gray wolves. Thank you to Congressman Peterson for his leadership and diligence on this important issue for the sheep and cattle industries in Minnesota and across the country."
Craig Engwall, Executive Director, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association - "MDHA is pleased that the Fish and Wildlife Service has delisted the gray wolf again and greatly appreciates the efforts of Congressmen Peterson and Stauber in returning wolf management to Minnesota. The wolf has met all recovery goals in Minnesota for decades and Minnesota DNR has shown that it can responsibly manage a wolf season. It is now time for DNR to begin the planning process for implementing a wolf season in 2021."
Congressman Collin Peterson has advocated for returning gray wolves to state management by introducing the bipartisan H.R. 4494, the Gray Wolf State Management Act that would delist the gray wolf in the WesternGreat Lakes Region, and H.R. 6035, the American Wild Game and Livestock Protection Act that would delist the gray wolf in the lower 48 states and protect the delisting from judicial review. The Administration's final rule delisting wolves in the lower 48 is similar to the text of H.R. 6053, which is cosponsored by Representatives Bishop (R-UT), Johnson (R-SD), and McAdams (D-UT).
In June 2020, Congressman Peterson joined federal wildlife officials to search for wolves that killed six calves on a pasture in Northern Minnesota.
Gray wolves (C. Lupus) in Minnesota were first protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1974 when the Minnesota gray wolf population of about 1,000 wolves was the only major U.S. population outside of Alaska. Today, more than 4,400 wolves inhabit northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, greatly exceeding the federal recovery criteria set by the FWS in 1992. Separate populations have also been reestablished in the Northern Rocky Mountains and the southwestern United States.
The gray wolf in Minnesota was delisted by the Obama Administration in 2011, until the delisting was invalidated in 2014 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. During that time, the State of Minnesota managed its wolf population using procedures established by the state legislature in 2000.