Governor Mark Gordon put out a statement criticizing an announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that they will be looking into whether to put the gray wolf on the endangered species list.

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Based on the release by Fish and Wildlife, the department will conduct a 12-month review that should be published by Sept. 30, after receiving a petition in September 2021 that showed the need to look deeper into the grey wolf population in western states like Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

The original petition claimed that there are possible increases to human-caused mortality which may pose a threat to wolves in Idaho and Montana, and suggests adding gray wolves to the endangered species list in those two states along with Wyoming and parts of Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

The concerns by Fish and Wildlife arise because of the increase in hunting that has happened in states like Wyoming, which became more common after the gray wolf was officially taken off the endangered species list in 2017 after a court battle that started in 2012.

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, in 2020, 43% of all wolf mortalities in the wolf trophy game management area were due to hunting.

Gordon, in a press release, said:

"Secretary Haaland’s decision is very disappointing and indicates a strong disconnect between Washington D.C and realities on the ground," Gordon said. "In Wyoming, wolves have been successfully managed by our state’s wildlife experts since regaining authority in 2017. I firmly stand behind our state wolf management plan that has served as our guide to ensure a viable, healthy population for a species that has met all recovery criteria for nearly two decades. Managing Wyoming’s wildlife from Washington D.C is not a good model and is counter to the intent of the Endangered Species Act. I urge the Secretary to ensure that the status review is grounded in science and recognizes the states’ strong track record effectively managing this species."

Based on the Endangered Species Act of 1973, there are five criteria for something to be put on the endangered species list: habitat destruction; overusing of the species; disease or predation; lax regulations; and other factors impacting its existence.

Throughout the years, the gray wolf population in Wyoming has remained relatively steady, going from 277 in 2012, 306 in 2013, 347 in 2017, 286 in 2018, 311 in 2019, and 327 in 2020.

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