Shocking News As U.S. Department Of Justice Appeals Restoration Of Gray Wolf Protections In Most Of The Lower 48 States

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week that it will join hunting groups and the state of Utah in appealing a federal judge’s recent decision to restore Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections to gray wolves in most of the Lower 48 states.

“This announcement marks a stunning and supremely disappointing reversal by the administration,” Jamie Rappaport Clark, CEO and President at Defenders of Wildlife, said in a statement. “Despite President Biden’s warnings about the looming threat of biodiversity loss, his administration is attempting to quash a significant ecological victory.”

Over the past decade, the federal government has slowly eliminated federal protections for gray wolves, starting with wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains in 2011. In November 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced its decision to remove federal protections for gray wolves throughout the remaining Lower 48 states, despite a dearth of scientific evidence to justify the move.

The decision, which took effect on January 4th, affected gray wolves in at least 44 states, most prominently in the western Great Lakes, the central Rockies, and Pacific Coast. The removal of protections had immediate consequences for wolves, leaving them vulnerable to hunting, trapping, poisoning, and other lethal measures. During the 2021-2022 hunting season, 24 Yellowstone wolves were killed in neighboring Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

As previously reported by WAN, on February 10th, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White ruled that the FWS decision to remove federal ESA protections from gray wolves was premature, restoring protections to thousands of wolves. The decision was met with appeals from Safari Club International, the National Rifle Association, and the state of Utah.

Although the DOJ filed its notice of appeal, neither the Department of Interior nor FWS, which were both involved in the lawsuit, have announced they will pursue an appeal.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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