The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun an investigation into the status of the gray wolf in the western U.S. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, the agency is responding to concerns from environmentalists and tribes about the species’ survival.
The federal government delisted the wolf nationwide in 2020, citing the species’ recovery. But petitioners from numerous environmental groups argue it’s still in imminent danger of extinction, in part because of recent trophy hunting laws passed in several states. The petitions ask the government to restore endangered species protection to wolves in the Northern Rockies and other parts of the West. One petition includes northern Arizona in wolf’s range.
The Navajo Nation and dozens of other U.S. tribes joined the call for greater protections in a letter to the Department of the Interior, saying the wolf is culturally significant to Indigenous peoples.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed the petitions have merit and will spend the next year collecting information about the wolf’s status to inform a decision about relisting the species. Members of the public are invited to submit any relevant information.