On November 3rd the Trump Administration officially removed the gray wolf from the ESA, thus turning over all management to state and tribal agencies. This move comes in the wake of fully recovered and burgeoning wolf populations in the Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain West. States such as Wyoming, Idaho and Montana will now have total and complete control over their wolf populations and I think that is a good thing!
I do think that wolves are here to stay and I don’t mind that, in fact I like the fact that they are an established part of the West once again. However, we as states, the folks with the most skin in the game, should be the people in charge of managing not just wolves but grizzlies too but I’ll save that rant for another day.
We know what is best for our landscapes and the management of the animals on them. Western states with active wolf management plans have proven themselves to be excellent stewards of large canines and this ruling is a huge win.
However, it does muddy the wolf reintroduction waters in Colorado. That state’s wolf ballot initiative has passed and reintroduction of gray wolves to Colorado will soon be a reality, or will it?
With the removal of Federal protection comes the removal of Federal funding and it is dubious that Colorado possesses the means to support a full on wolf reintroduction effort. This is a hurdle the state will have to overcome if they are to truly restore wolves to the western slope. Colorado is facing down a major resource crisis and adding wolves to the pot may very well prove too much as management will rest solely upon the state.
One thing is for certain, the removal of the wolf from the ESA is a step in the right direction for wolves and the people who are directly impacted by them. Now it’s the grizzly’s turn.