Great Lakes Wolves Ordered Returned to Endangered List

Hunters and trappers took 117 wolves in Wisconsin during the 2012 harvest season, 257 wolves in 2013 and 154 in 2014.

Ryan Matthews
Outdoors Reporter/Lakeland Times
A federal judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday overturned the 2012 delisting of the gray wolf in the Great Lakes region from the endangered species list, finding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not been able to overcome the strictures imposed by the Endangered Species Act.

“Wolves are the subject of heated disputes, with those on every side of the issue offering heartfelt arguments as to how best to manage this unique species,” Judge Beryl Howell wrote in her conclusion.

In 2012, Gov. Walker signed Act 169, mandating that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources create a wolf harvesting season. Wolves were originally listed as a state endangered species in 1975.

During the 2014 wolf hunting and trapping season, Wisconsin hunters and trappers killed 154 wolves.

According to the 2012-2014 Post Delisting Monitoring Annual Report on the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment of the Gray Wolf issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in September, the number of wolves in Wisconsin fell to an estimated 660-689 from the 2011-2012 estimate of 815-880, a decline of approximately 18 percent.

Judge Howell called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ interpretation of the Endangered Species Act “unreasonable,” saying the structure, history and purpose of the Endangered Species Act do not permit the designation of a distinct population segment for the purpose of delisting the animals that are members of that segment. Judge Howell also said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services had redesignated the distinct population segment to a more general taxon to enable its 2012 delisting.

Judge Howell ultimately determined that the delisting of gray wolves from the endangered species list was arbitrary and capricious. The defendants were ordered to immediately reinstate protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin such as they existed prior to delisting.

Ryan Matthews may be reached at

4 thoughts on “Great Lakes Wolves Ordered Returned to Endangered List

  1. the removal was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated the federal Endangered Species Act.

    Music to my ears! A huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, and the HSUS can expect continued donations from me as well.

    And now that the omnibus spending bill has been signed, where will the politicians stick a rider next? (Don’t answer that.)


    • do not encourage the misfits only the ones who want to change and stop the developers and entrepreneurs in their tracks from taking away the wilderness and the ranching community by their expropriation of the same.


  2. Thank you HSUS ! A big donation coming your way now !
    Obama has thrown the entire environment under the bus…
    You can’t give the keys to our wild kingdom .. And you can’t give civil rights to the individual states .. The south would still be lynching !
    We need both and environmental laws respected and implemented to the fullest extent of the law and stop all the violence against the voiceless
    Obama has been an utterly miserable steward of our wild and wildlands of the nation .. His policies are horrific and I hope the courts will stop his agenda of clearing the land for oil/gas and ranching developments .. Give the land back to the public and quit subsidizing the welfare corporations

    I’m so grateful the killing has stopped for our beautiful wolves in the Great Lakes !!
    Now Idaho and Montana !


    • great for the great lakes region…very happy that wolves can continue to develop in those regions. Big thxs to the Humane Society for doing this.


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