Gray Wolves Could Lose ‘Protected’ Status

After a decades-long effort, U.S. wildlife officials want to declare that gray wolves have officially recovered.

The proposal would strip gray wolves of their remaining federal protections, but their recovery status isn’t news to Michigan.

New DNR Director Dan Eichinger says, “Wolves have met all the biological recovery goals. They are a recovered species here in the state of Michigan.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal would put wolves under state authority and allow hunting in more areas. 

Now under federal protection, more than 6,000 wolves live in portions of nine states, including Michigan.

A final decision on lifting protections will follow a public comment period.

Eichinger says, “That’s going to open up a 60 day comment period. So once that rule language is published, a lot of the devil is in the details there. We’ll definitely be looking at what the Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior are proposing, and we will work on putting together our comments.”

Critics argue the move is premature, with wolves still absent across most of their historic range.

Government officials say their goal was to protect against extinction, not restore wolves everywhere.