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Michigan AG Nessel to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Abandon Your Flawed Proposal on Gray Wolves

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week urging it to abandon its flawed proposal to remove the gray wolf from the endangered and threatened wildlife list, saying, “The Service’s strategy to delist the gray wolf seems to be ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’”

This is the 10th attempt to remove the gray wolf from the endangered list by the Service in less than 20 years. The gray wolf species has a population of less than 16,000 nationwide, 11,000 of which are in Alaska. 

In its proposal, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fails to analyze whether the gray wolves living in 13 other states – Washington, Oregon, California, North Dakota, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, and Kansas – are in danger of extinction. Instead, the Service only asks whether the gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin can survive if all the other gray wolves die off. “That is neither responsible, nor lawful,” Nessel said.

In her letter, Nessel urges the Service not to hinge its rationale for delisting the species on Michigan’s successful and innovative wolf-recovery efforts.

“While Michigan has been successful with its recovery efforts, other states have not been so fortunate,” Nessel said. “Instead of using Michigan’s leadership to the detriment of the gray wolves in other states, the Service should allow the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to lead by example so that other states can manage the gray wolves within their borders into recovery, not extinction.”

The Service’s proposal uses the same flawed methodology the D.C. Circuit Court ruled it could not use to justify delisting the species.

“Simply put, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not adequately accounted for why this species should be removed from the endangered list,” Nessel added. “This flawed proposal is the first step toward allowing gray wolves to be hunted to near extinction once again.”

A copy of the Attorney General's comment letter can be read here.