Court Rules to Return Wolf Management to Wyoming
March 10, 2017

A U.S. appeals court on March 3 ruled to lift protections that kept gray wolves an endangered species in Wyoming for years after federal officials removed packs in neighboring states from that list. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia doesn't take effect immediately, however. Environmental groups that want to keep the protections in place will have a chance to appeal.

Gray wolves now number around 5,500, including about 400 in Wyoming, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fish and Wildlife determined in 2011 that gray wolves were no longer a threatened species in Wyoming. State officials promised to maintain a population above the minimum 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

But U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sided with environmental groups in 2014, ruling that Wyoming's promise was unenforceable, and she rejected the state wolf management plan.

In its reversal, a three-judge panel of the appellate court said federal officials exercised proper judgment and adequately responded to concerns about Wyoming's management plan.

Wyoming state rules would establish wolf hunts, among other things.

The American Sheep Industry Association recently asked the Trump Administration to return management of wolves nationwide to the states.

Reprinted in part from Farm Forum