U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials have announced that it will not restore protections for gray wolves across portions of six states and allow hunting to continue in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

This after environmental groups petitioned to return wolves in the Rocky Mountains to the federal endangered species list.

Just before leaving office in 2020, the Trump administration removed endangered species protections for wolves across the United States, but a federal judge in 2022 restored them outside of the Northern Rockies.

“Tragically, the wolf has become a pawn in a well-orchestrated campaign of disinformation,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “And Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have become the poster children for what happens when politics trumps science. What they are doing to wolves—wantonly shooting, trapping and snaring them or driving over them with a snowmobile—can only be described as animal torture. Science shows us the importance of intact pack structures. Each family member has a vital role to play and they grieve each loss.”

Federal officials estimate the current gray wolf population to be somewhere around 2,800 animals at the end of 2022.

“The population maintains high genetic diversity and connectivity, further supporting their ability to adapt to future changes,” the agency said in a news release.

At the end of 2022, the Wyoming Game and Fish's annual Wyoming Gray Wolf Monitoring and Management annual report shows that the gray wolf population in the Cowboy State was above the minimum recovery criteria for a 21st consecutive year.

At least 338 wolves in greater than 41 packs (including more than 23 breeding pairs) inhabited Wyoming statewide on Dec. 31, 2022. There were 160 wolves within the Wolf Trophy Game Management Area.

The WGF Department wrote that wolves were confirmed to have killed or injured 97 head of livestock -- 46 cattle, 46 sheep, and 5 horses) statewide in 2022. This is similiar to the numbers from the year prior.

The report for 2023 has not yet been published.

See Gray Wolf Hunting Information here.

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