Last week the Obama administration issued a sweeping delisting plan to remove protections for wolves across the lower 48 states. The plan only maintains protections for the small population of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.
If finalized this proposal will mean the premature end of decades of work to restore wolves to the American landscape — even though wolves currently occupy a mere 5 percent of their historic range.
The proposal also means that states will hold the reins of wolf management across most of the country. We’ve already seen what state management entails for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes, where protections were removed in the past two years — in short, aggressive trapping and hunting seasons designed to drastically reduce populations, resulting in at least 1,600 wolves killed.