Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced that the Fish and Wildlife Service would remove the gray wolf (Canis lupus) population in the Great Lakes region from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The species was listed in 1967 under the predecessor to the ESA. The final rule delisting the gray wolf is available here (pdf). The Service released the proposed rule (pdf) on May 5, 2011. The population of gray wolfs in the Great Lakes region is estimated (pdf) to include 2,921 wolves in Minnesota, 687 wolves in Michigan, and 782 wolves in Wisconsin.
Adult gray wolves range from 40 to 175 pounds and prey upon medium and large mammals, including deer, moose, elk, caribou as well as domestic animals, including horses and cattle. The decision to delist the speceis in the Great Lakes region drew praise from State officials in the region, farmers, and some conservation and environmental advocacy groups, but it has been criticized as premature by other environmental advocacy groups.