WWF Board Members:

Today the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its decision reviewing the decision of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia which overturned the US Fish and Wildlife Service delisting of the Western Great Lakes Population of the Gray Wolf. The Court of Appeals upheld the lower court and in other words, wolves in MN, MI and WI will remain on the Federal Endangered Species list.

The Court of Appeals upheld a great deal of the USFWS rule which delisted the wolf in 2011 but found that it had not made all of the necessary findings to do the delisting. I have attached the actual 54 page case but also attached some key excerpts from the decision in a second attachment.

What does this mean as far as delisting of the wolf in Wisconsin? At a minimum the decision would require the US Fish and Wildlife Service to reopen its delisting rule to take additional information to address factual issues required by the Court of Appeals. I am not sure whether it may actually require the Fish and Wildlife Service to completely start over from the beginning with rule-making or whether it could initiate a shorter process to specifically address the shortcomings listed by the court. Either way, it will take years for the USFWS to complete the process which would undoubtedly be appealed again by the plaintiffs in this case. (My reading of the attached Court of Appeals case on a preliminary basis is that the USFWS would be able to address the shortcomings that the Court of Appeals listed.)

As I mentioned above, the continuing of the rule-making process and the ensuing court review process will take years to address. I believe that the WWF and the many other partners we have worked with in this matter should continue to pursue Congressional action to delist the wolf in the Western Great Lakes states.

Wolf Delisting Decision

HSUS v Zinke Opinion


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