Houses votes to delist gray wolves in lower 48

House votes to delist gray wolves in lower 48

Last week, the House voted to end federal protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 in a close vote of 209-205. The bill, which appears to have bipartisan support, is now at the Senate level although Biden could strike it down even if Congress approves it, according to Time Magazine. In response to the measure to delist gray wolves, the White House issued a statement “warning that the Biden administration opposes it” and adding that “Congress shouldn’t play a role in determining whether a species has recovered.”

Those in favor of delisting wolves believe the populations are stable, pointing to increases in wolf attacks on big game and livestock. Supporters want the chance to legally kill the animals through state managed wolf hunts and/or other legal methods.

Opponents argue that wolves should retain protections as their “population remains fragile after being hunting to near-extinction by the 1960s,” according to Time Magazine. Reintroduction efforts – like the ballot-approved measure in Colorado – have been met with mixed public sentiment with recent livestock predation linked to recently released wolves in the Centennial State.

As of 2022, there is an estimated 8,000 wolves across the lower 48 with nearly 3,000 animals concentrated in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and sometimes Arizona and New Mexico. Wolf hunts are currently permitted in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

The bill moves onto the Senate for consideration.