The Trump administration announced Thursday that it is removing the— a species that once faced near-extinction in the United States due to trapping, trophy hunting and habitat destruction — from the list of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act. Conservationists and scientists have slammed the move as premature, and said it could potentially jeopardize the recovery of the species.
Gray wolves have been protected by federal law for more than 45 years under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced the decision to remove those protections on Thursday, claiming that the species has had a “successful recovery” based on scientific and commercial data.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it will continue to monitor the species for five years, but state and tribal wildlife management agencies will now be responsible for managing and protecting gray wolves across the country.