July 2, 2009
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on Monday agreed to return gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region to the Endangered Species List.
The decision came less than two months after the USFWS discontinued federal protection for about 4,000 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The agency acknowledged Monday that it erred by not holding a legally required public comment period before taking action.
The agreement was reached as a settlement with environmental groups that sued the agency earlier this month. However, the agreement does not include wolves in Montana and Idaho, for which legal proceedings were followed before delisting. A separate lawsuit on that case will move forward.
About 300 wolves in Wyoming remain listed.
The settlement must be approved by a U.S. District Judge. The USFWS said it will hold a 60-day comment period before attempting to delist the animals again -- a move which is likely, because the agency feels the wolves have met recovery criteria.