Wolves, The Endangered Species Act and H.R 424

By J. Lee


The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was designed to protect many species including wolves. Although all species need protection, this story will focus on the plight of wolves in the United States.

The ESA was written by a team of scientists and lawyers. It was passed by the 93rd United States Congress. It was signed by President Nixon in 1973. Prior to the ESA, was the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966.

The objective of The Endangered Species Act is to protect species considered endangered or threatened. Categorized as endangered would include species in danger of extinction. Categorized as threatened includes those likely to become endangered.

In the United States, two federal agencies oversee species protection. Those agencies are the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Endangered Species Act (ESA): NOAA Fisheries: The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) was signed on December 28, 1973. It provides for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and the conservation of the ecosystems upon which they depend.


  • From 1973 to 2013, the Act prevented extinction 99 percent of species under its protection.

  • The Act has shown a 90 percent recovery rate in more than 100 species throughout the United States.

The Endangered Species Act protects many species including Mexican gray wolves and gray wolves. Gray wolves can be primarily found in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Mexican gray wolves also know as lobos and are once again in peril. They had become extinct in the United States. The few remaining were found in Mexico. Thanks to rescuers who bred them in captivity, they were reintroduced into Arizona in 1998. Sadly, there are only approximately one hundred of them in the wild.

H.R. 424 (Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017) will allow Congress to exclude wolves from protection. The bill was introduced Jan 10, 2017. It was sent forwarded to the House and Senate Oct 4, 2017. Passage is thought to be slim, but we must do our part to speak out to save wolves.

H.R.424 – Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017: This bill requires the Department of the Interior to reissue two rules that removed protections under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 for the gray wolf populations located in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes (all of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, as well as portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio). In addition, this bill prohibits judicial review of the reissued rules.

To direct the Secretary of the Interior to reissue final rules relating to listing of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and for other purposes.

The House and Senate is considering removing wolves from federal protection in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. If they succeed, wolves will be in jeopardy of being killed. It would be contrary to the objectives and protections established in the Endangered Species Act.

Wolves are critical for the ecosystem.

They provide numerous positive impacts. They provide stability herd management, landscape management and rivers.

Defenders of the Wildlife: Predators play a fundamental role in maintaining ecosystem health. … Wolves prey primarily on large ungulates, hoofed mammals such as deer, elk and moose. By preying on the most vulnerable (diseased, young, old, weak or injured) individuals,wolves help keep prey populations healthier and more vigorous (Carbyn 1983)

(Video 4:33) How Wolves Change Rivers is an excellent video showing the positive impact of the wolves reintroduction into Yellowstone.

(Ripple and Beschta) Trophic cascades in Yellowstone: The first 15 years after wolf reintroduction: 

Highlights – ► The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone has triggered a tri-trophic cascade. ► Woody plants are now growing taller in portions of the northern range. ► Wolf reintroduction may represent an effective approach for passively restoring ecosystems.

In the United States there are wolf sanctuaries including the California Wolf Center in Julian, CA, Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley, CA and the Wolf Conservation Center in Salem, New York. The Wolf Conservation Center has a 24/7 webcam that features numerous wolf packs including red wolves and Mexican gray wolves.

There are also seven sanctuaries (7 Sanctuaries Working to Save Abused and Neglected Wolves and Wolf-Hybrids) in Washington State, Colorado, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas. The purpose of sanctuaries is to help increase wolf population numbers and to provide a protected environment.

It is within our power to choose kindness over cruelty. There is something we all can do. We can support organizations on the front lines, we can become activists, we can contact legislators or sign petitions.

Thanks for caring!


Born Free: Urge Your Legislators to Oppose the “War on Wolves Act”

Sierra Club: Take action to protect wolves

Defenders of Wildlife: Save the Mexican Gray Wolf

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