Gray wolves stripped of endangered species protections by Trump administration |

Gray wolves stripped of endangered species protections by Trump administration

Bruce Finley, Denver Post
A Colorado Parks and Wildlife camera captures a pair of wolves in northwestern Colorado on July 25, 2020.
Courtesy CPW

Trump administration officials on Thursday ended endangered species protection for gray wolves nationwide, rankling conservationists who contend wolves still are vulnerable — and raising the stakes in Colorado’s citizen-driven wolf reintroduction vote in next week’s election.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt declared wolves recovered after more than 45 years under federal protection, and federal wildlife officials claimed wolves as an Endangered Species Act success along with the bald eagle.

“Today’s action reflects the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to species conservation,” Bernhardt said in a statement before heading to Colorado to hunt elk.

The federal officials announced their removal of wolves from the nation’s list of species facing extinction, long-fought in courts, at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The move came as Colorado voters are casting ballots on whether to direct state officials to reintroduce wolves on former habitat west of the Continental Divide.

The delisting means wolves’ fate in Colorado, and in states where thousands are making a comeback, depends on state-level management plans that typically allow hunting of wolves and “removal” by livestock ranchers.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis hasn’t taken a position on the state measure but his office termed Thursday’s announcement “yet another example of the Trump administration undermining longstanding, bedrock protections for our air, water, landscapes and wildlife.”

Defenders of Wildlife Rockies and Plains Program Director Jon Proctor, pushing for reintroduction, said lifting federal protection is premature and makes voters’ decision on Proposition 114 crucial to guaranteeing a self-sustaining population in the state.

Read more via The Denver Post

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