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U.S. WOLF ACTION TIMELINE

January 4, 1974 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed gray wolves as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

March 9, 1978 – The Service issued a final rule reclassifying the gray wolf as endangered in Minnesota and threatened across the rest of the lower 48 states.

April 23, 1990 – The Center initiated the return of the Mexican gray wolf into portions of its historic range in the Southwest by suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Defense.

February 7, 1996 – The Center and allies filed suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service for denying a petition to list the Alexander Archipelago wolf as an endangered species.

October 1996 – In response to our February suit, a federal court overturned the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to deny protections to the Alexander Archipelago wolf.

Late 1997 – The Service completed its court-mandated review and determined that listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf was not warranted. The finding acknowledged the wolf’s declining populations but predicted that numbers would stabilize at an “acceptable” level.

January 12, 1998 – The Service published a final rule declaring the Mexican gray wolf a nonessential, experimental population, allowing for the take of wolves in the wild.

November 1998 – In the same year that wolves were first reintroduced into the wild, the Center developed the Wolf Safe Haven Plan to help guide recovery efforts and ensure that wolves were fully protected.

January 1, 1999 – After livestock-industry groups sued the Service in 1998, demanding the removal of all wolves in the wild, the Center soon intervened on the side of the government and the industry suit was dismissed the following year.

October 2000 – Poacher James M. Rogers was convicted of illegally shooting a wolf after a reward paid by the Center, other conservation organizations, and the federal government led to a tip in the case.

April 2000 – Advocacy by the Center helped spur a federal rule approving the re-release of wolves that had been captured from the wild into New Mexico.

April 1, 2003 – The Service issued a final rule designating three large “distinct population segments” and downlisting wolves to threatened status in the Great Lakes region. The rule also reduced federal protections for northern Rockies gray wolves.

March 29, 2004 – On the sixth anniversary of the first release of Mexican wolves into the wild, the Center filed a petition with the Fish and Wildlife Service to reform the reintroduction program by implementing recommendations issued by a 2001 independent scientific panel.

January 2005 – The Center participated in a successful coalition lawsuit overturning a Service wolf reclassification rule that downlisted wolves to threatened, divided gray wolves into distinct population segments, and precipitated a recovery-planning process that would have established Mexican gray wolves outside their historic range instead of where they evolved.

January 2005 – A federal judge dismissed a second case by the livestock industry, in which the Center served as an intervenor-defendant. The livestock industry was again seeking removal of all Mexican gray wolves from the wild.

January 31, 2005 – Ending a suit brought by the Center and allies, a federal judge overturned the Service’s 2003 downlisting of Great Lakes wolves.

December 14, 2006 – The Center sued the Service for refusing to implement the recommendations of a scientific panel convened to assess the Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program two years earlier.

February 8, 2007 – The Service issued a final rule delisting wolves in the Western Great Lakes "distinct population segment."

June 25, 2007 – The Center and Western Watersheds Project filed suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for failing to assess the ecological impact of a federal sheep-grazing station in Montana and Idaho west of Yellowstone National Park. The USDA Sheep Experiment Station grazes more than 6,000 sheep on more than 100,000 acres of public land, threatening the habitat of northern Rockies gray wolves and other imperiled native species.

August 7, 2007 – Following the Center’s 2006 lawsuit, the Service initiated a process to change the rules for management of the wolf reintroduction program. A draft Environmental Impact Statement was expected to be issued in spring 2008.

August 9, 2006 – A federal judge in D.C. issued an order invalidating permits issued by the Service to Michigan and Wisconsin for use of lethal measures to control wolf depredations.

January 28, 2008 – Seven conservation organizations, including the Center, sued the Service for adopting a rule allowing the states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana to kill up to half of the Rocky Mountain wolf population.

February 19, 2008 – The Center’s case against the Department of Agriculture was settled when the Department agreed to assess the ecological impact of its Sheep Experiment Station.

February 27, 2008 – The Service announced the removal of northern Rockies wolves from the endangered species list, to be effective March 28. The Center and 10 allies filed a notice of intent to sue the Service for the decision.

April 28, 2008 – The Center and 11 allies filed suit against the Service for delisting the wolves.

May 1, 2008 – The Center and allies sued the Service for its decision to put wolf reintroduction in the hands of agencies that have allowed Mexican wolf killings to rise, as well as for approving SOP 13.

July 18, 2008 – A federal judge issued a temporary injunction restoring northern Rockies gray wolves to the endangered species list pending the conclusion of the lawsuit challenging their delisting.

May 16, 2008 – After the government-appointed wolf-management team refused to end SOP 13, a policy requiring all wolves with a certain depredation record to be “removed" — despite the request of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and the recommendations of numerous scientists — the Center wrote a letter to the team requesting a cessation of government wolf removals.

September 16, 2008 – The Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was giving up its attack on the wolves and withdrawing its rule removing them from the endangered species list.

September 23, 2008 – Eastern Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, key Mexican gray wolf habitat, proposed a new policy requiring livestock owners to dispose of their own animals’ carcasses when those animals died from causes unrelated to wolves. This measure would help prevent endangered wolves from becoming habituated to preying on livestock rather than their natural prey. The Center requested that the policy be applied not just in the Apache National Forest portion of the Blue Wolf Range Recovery Area, but also on all lands governed by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest’s Revised Forest Plan.

September 29, 2008 – In response to a lawsuit in which the Center participated, a federal judge in D.C. ordered the Service to place Great Lakes wolves back under Endangered Species Act protection.

October 25, 2008 – The Service re-opened for public comment its 2007 proposal to delist northern Rockies gray wolves.

December 3, 2008 – The Center petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to update the Mexican gray wolf’s ancient recovery plan, published in 1982 and never revised.

December 22, 2008 – The Center and 16 other organizations asked the Service to replace the photograph of the Mexican gray wolf program’s “poster wolf” — prominently displayed on the agency’s Web site and at its Washington, D.C. headquarters — because the wolf was trapped and inadvertently killed in 2005.

January 4, 2009 – The Service announced a final rule to remove Endangered Species Act protections from all northern Rockies gray wolves except for those in Wyoming. The rule also stripped protections from gray wolves in the Great Lakes region.

January 20, 2009 – President Barack Obama began his administration by issuing a freeze on publication of federal regulations planned under the Bush administration but not yet published. The move effectively halted the premature removal of gray wolves from the endangered species list.

February 6, 2009 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced there were only two breeding pairs of Mexican gray wolves in the wild at the end of 2008 — a decline from just three breeding pairs at the end of 2007. The low number resulted from federal trapping and shooting of 19 wolves in 2007, including reproductively successful pairs.March 5, 2009 – The Fish and Wildlife Service moved forward with the Bush administration’s plan to remove gray wolves in the northern Rockies and the upper Midwest from the federal Endangered Species list.

March 10, 2009 – The Center and allies submitted comments on a Fish and Wildlife Service draft “conservation assessment” analyzing the current Mexican gray wolf management program. We called for development of a new Mexican wolf recovery plan to replace the outdated 1982 plan, as well as for a temporary cessation of removals of Mexican wolves from the wild.

March 25, 2009 – In passing the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Congress approved a demonstration project involving federal compensation for livestock losses to wolves, as well as federal funding for nonlethal activities to reduce the risk of livestock losses to wolves.

April 2, 2009 – The Fish and Wildlife Service’s rule to delist northern Rockies and Great Lakes–region wolves was published in the Federal Register; the Center and allies, represented by Earthjustice, filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue. On the same day, the Service again issued a final rule delisting wolves in the western Great Lakes "distinct population segment."

May 4, 2009 – The rule removing protections for gray wolves in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes region officially took effect. The rule also removed federal protections from any wolves residing in a third of eastern Oregon and Washington, as well as a portion of northern Utah.

June 2, 2009 – The Center and allies filed suit to restore Endangered Species Act protections to gray wolves in Idaho and Montana.

July 1, 2009 – The Center and our allies entered into a court-approved settlement agreement with the Service that reinstated protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region.

August 11, 2009 – The Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to formally separate the Mexican gray wolf from other U.S. wolf populations and list it under the Endangered Species Act as either an endangered subspecies or a “distinct population segment.” On the same day, ending a Center lawsuit, a court ordered USDA Wildlife Services to release records detailing where Mexican wolves killed livestock prior to the agency shooting and trapping them.

August 20, 2009 – The Center and allies requested that a federal district court block wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana. Idaho had authorized the killing of 225 wolves in a hunt to begin Sept. 1; Montana had authorized the killing of 75 wolves in a hunt scheduled for Sept. 15.

September 8, 2009 – A federal district court found that the delisting of northern Rockies wolves was probably illegal, finding merit in our case against the administration for removing the wolves’ protections. However, the judge declined to stop the wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.

November 13, 2009 – In response to Center litigation, the Fish and Wildlife Service reclaimed its decision-making authority over wolf management from a multiagency group hostile to wolf recovery, as well as scrapping the wolf-killing rule SOP 13.

November 20, 2009 – The Center filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the Service to compel a response to our August 2009 petition to list the Mexican wolf separately from other gray wolves.

December 22, 2009 – The Center, as part of a diverse coalition of Alaska Native, tourism industry, and environmental organizations, filed suit to end a 2003 Bush-era policy that exempted the Tongass National Forest from the national Roadless Area Conservation Rule.

January 2010 – The Forest Service approved an ill-conceived logging operation within the Tongass National Forest, the Archipelago wolf’s home.

January 27, 2010 – The Center filed suit against the Service for its failure to respond to our August 2009 petition.

May 5, 2010 – A “conservation assessment” for the Mexican gray wolf, released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pointed to the urgency in reforming the Mexican wolf reintroduction project and developing an up-to-date Mexican wolf recovery plan that includes recovery criteria, to guide establishment of additional wolf populations.

May 20, 2010 – The Center and our allies issued comments on applications by state agencies in Michigan and Wisconsin to kill depredating wolves in Michigan and Wisconsin.

June 30, 2010 – A Center settlement with the Fish and Wildlife Service required the agency to respond by July 31, 2010 to our August 2009 petition asking for recognition of the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered species separate from gray wolves in the rest of the country.

June 2010 – The Center sent a letter to the federal agency Wildlife Services, asking it to withdraw authorization for killing two eastern Oregon wolves because not enough had been done by area ranchers to avoid depredations.

July 1, 2010 – The Center, Cascadia Wildlands,  the Hells Canyon Preservation Council and Oregon Wild sued Wildlife Services for its role in killing the two Oregon wolves.

July 2, 2010 – In response to our July 1 lawsuit, Wildlife Services voluntarily agreed not to kill any wolves in Oregon for at least four weeks.

July 20, 2010 – The Center petitioned the Obama administration for a national recovery plan to establish wolf populations in suitable habitat in the Pacific Northwest, California, Great Basin, southern Rocky Mountains, Great Plains and New England.

August 3, 2010 – In response to our petition and lawsuit, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the Mexican gray wolf might qualify for listing as an endangered species separate from other wolves.

September 14, 2010 – The Service issued a finding that petitions to delist wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and the Great Lakes states in generral “may be warranted.”

September 30, 2010 – The Center condemned four newly introduced bills that would strip Endangered Species Act protections from wolves around the country before full recovery.

October 4, 2010 – The Center submitted comments on the Service's August finding.

October 8, 2010 – The Fish and Wildlife Service for the second time delayed releasing the eight-wolf Engineer Springs pack — badly needed to bolster dwindling Mexican wolf numbers and genetic diversity in the Southwest — into the Arizona wild.

October 26, 2010 – The Center filed comments urging the Service to retain protections for wolves in the Great Lakes states.

October 27, 2010 – The Center filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service over its delay in deciding whether the Mexican wolf deserved special protections.

November 12, 2010 – The Center and Defenders of Wildlife — represented by the Western Environmental Law Center — intervened in a lawsuit seeking the trapping and shooting of endangered Mexican gray wolves, the third since reintroduction began in 1998.

December 21, 2010 – With no response to our July 20 petition, we filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish a national recovery plan for gray wolves.

February 1, 2011 – Livestock growers and two counties — plaintiffs in a lawsuit that asked the federal government to remove Mexican gray wolves from the wild in New Mexico — filed a motion seeking voluntary dismissal of their suit without prejudice (meaning that they could refile a similar suit later).

February 2, 2011 – A new census by federal and state agencies revealed that 50 Mexican gray wolves, including two breeding pairs, were counted in the wilds of New Mexico and Arizona at the end of 2010. The 50 wolves were eight more than the 42 wolves found at the end of 2009, representing the first increase in numbers in four years.

March 9, 2011 – The Center and 47 other conservation organizations, representing millions of Americans, called on Sen. Barbara Boxer(D.-Calif.) to use her power as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to put a stop to legislation removing Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves.

May 4, 2011 – The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule proposing to remove Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in the Great Lakes region.

June 9, 2011 – New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s state game commission voted unanimously to stop cooperating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in reintroducing the endangered Mexican gray wolf.

July 12, 2011 – The Center reached a landmark agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service compelling the agency to move forward in the protection process for 757 species, including on improved protections for the Mexican gray wolf.

August 10, 2011 – The Center for Biological Diversity joined with Greenpeace to again petition the Fish and Wildlife Service for Endangered Species Act protection for the Alexander Archipelago wolf.

August 17, 2011 – The Center filed a formal notice of intent to sue the New Mexico State Game Commission and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish over the commission’s vote to resume recreational trapping in the Gila National Forest, the home of endangered Mexican gray wolves.

December 21, 2011 – The Service issued a rule prematurely removing Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in the Great Lakes region.

January 2012 – A new federal report showed that Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest continued to struggle to survive in the wild in part because too few wolves had been released from captivity.

February 2012 – A new census showed an increase in wild Mexican wolf pup births for the second year in a row, bringing the count of wild wolves up from 50 to 58 individuals, with breeding pairs increasing from two to six.

March 29, 2012 – On the 14th anniversary of the first reintroduction of endangered Mexican gray wolves to the wild in the Southwest, 30 conservation organizations, scientists, and animal-protection and sportsmen groups (including the Center) urged Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to release Mexican wolves from the captive-breeding program into the wild in 2012, since no release had occurred since 2008. The letter also asks Salazar to allow the release of captive-bred wolves to New Mexico, which was currently prohibited.

July 10, 2012 – The Center and Greenpeace notified the Service of our intent to file suit against the agency for delaying Endangered Species Act protection for the Alexander Archipelago wolf.

August 8, 2012 – A kill order was issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service to its sister agency, U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services, to shoot the alpha female of the Fox Mountain Pack of Mexican gray wolves due to the seven-member pack preying on four head of cattle over several months. Center action resulted in her captured instead of killing.

September 18, 2012 – The Center and Howling for Wolves filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources challenging the agency’s failure to provide a formal opportunity for public comment on recently approved rules establishing wolf hunting and trapping. The conservation groups were seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the opening of hunting and trapping seasons that fall.

October 10, 2012 – The Minnesota Court of Appeals denied our September motion for a preliminary injunction for Great Lakes gray wolves.

October 15, 2012 – The Center and Howling for Wolves asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to stop fall wolf hunting and trapping. The groups sought review of a Minnesota Court of Appeals decision, issued the previous week.

November 13, 2012 – Conservation groups filed suit challenging the federal government’s elimination of Endangered Species Act protections for Wyoming wolves.

November 20, 2012 – The Center called on the Fish and Wildlife Service to dramatically increase the number of Mexican gray wolves in the wild in order to stave off genetic inbreeding, deemed by scientists to be limiting the size and health of some wolf litters.

November 28, 2012 – The Center filed suit challenging the Service’s failure to respond to our 2004 petition calling for implementation of sweeping reforms in the management of the Mexican gray wolf population, which had by then grown by only three animals, leaving just 58 wolves in the wild.

December 9, 2012 – The Center sued the Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s rejection of a 2009 scientific petition from the Center that sought classification of the Mexican gray wolf as an endangered subspecies or population of gray wolves. 

December 26, 2012 – After Mexico released nine Mexican gray wolves near the U.S. border in the Sierra Madre — and since wolves from the northern Rocky Mountains could make their way south at any time — the Center filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Service over its decision to grant itself a “recovery permit” to live-capture endangered wolves that may enter New Mexico and Arizona from Mexico or the Rocky Mountains.

December 26, 2012 – After Mexico released nine Mexican gray wolves near the U.S. border in the Sierra Madre — and since wolves from the northern Rocky Mountains could make their way south at any time — the Center filed a formal notice of intent to sue the Service over its decision to grant itself a “recovery permit” to live-capture endangered wolves that may enter New Mexico and Arizona from Mexico or the Rocky Mountains.

February 2013 – A four-year stalemate in federal efforts to reintroduce Mexican gray wolves to the Southwest took another step backward last week when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recaptured a male wolf only three weeks after his release into the wild.

February 1, 2013 – A coalition of more than 20 wildlife conservation organizations, representing more than a million Californians, called on the California Department of Wildlife and California Fish and Game Commission to stop a planned coyote-hunting contest scheduled for early February in Modoc County. The groups believed the “Coyote Drive 2013” hunt posed a serious threat to the wolf called OR-7 (or, famiarly, “Journey”), as well as any other uncollared gray wolves who, like OR-7, might have dispersed into California and be roaming the area.

February 7, 2013 – State wildlife officials in California declined to call off a coyote-hunting contest in Modoc County that weekend but, in response to public outcry, agreed to take steps to clarify the scope of the hunt and protect OR-7, the first wild wolf in California in nearly nine decades.

February 6, 2013 – A census conducted by federal, state and tribal agencies showed that pup births boosted the number of  Mexican gray wolves in the wild for the third year in a row, up from 58 wolves in 2011 to to 75 wolves, including 38 in New Mexico and 37 in Arizona. However, the number of breeding pairs decreased from six in the last count to just three.

February 8, 2013 – The Center and allies Animal Welfare Institute and Project Coyote sought an immediate investigation of Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter for his decision to defy federal laws and advocate the violation of those laws during this weekend’s Coyote Drive 13, a coyote-killing contest in and near Modoc County, an area where the wolf called OR-7 spent a considerable amount of time and is the pathway for more wolves to disperse into California.

March 5, 2013 – In an effort championed by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), 52 House members sent a letter to the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service urging an about-face on the agency’s anticipated proposal to remove federal protections for wolves across most of the lower 48 United States, including in the West Coast states.

March 8, 2013 – Just as Washington’s wolf population was making a historic comeback, senators in the Washington legislature passed one of several bills pending that aim to gut key portions of the state’s wolf conservation and management plan, expanding when and how wolves can be killed. The bill ultimately was not passed in the legislature but, instead, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission passed an emergency rule in April creating the same expansion of wolf-killing the bill had proposed.

March 28, 2013 – The Center filed a lawsuit challenging a permit issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service to allow federal and state agencies to capture wolves that enter Arizona and New Mexico from either the north or the south and keep them in captivity indefinitely.

March 30, 2013 – The sister of Oregon’s most famous wolf, OR-7, was killed in Idaho in March. OR-5, a 3-year-old female from the Imnaha pack and sister to the wanderer OR-7 who crossed into California in 2011, died in a foothold trap in Idaho on March 30, the next-to-last day of the Idaho trapping season.

May 21, 2013 – In two sharply worded letters sent to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, prominent scientists argued for continued protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states and criticized a draft federal proposal to remove those protections for being premature and failing to follow the best available science. One of the letters came from the American Society of Mammalogists, the other from 16 prominent biologists.

July 9, 2013 – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released a survey showing Minnesota has lost approximately a quarter of its wolf population, down more than 700 wolves from the survey five years before. Despite this large decline, the agency announced, there will be another hunt next year. 

July 19, 2013 – In an effort to stop the indiscriminate killing of Washington’s wolves, seven conservation groups filed a petition calling for the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission to make the state’s wolf-management guidelines legally binding. The new push to codify provisions of the Washington Wolf Conservation and Management Plan that was put in place in 2011 came after the state killed seven Wedge Pack wolves in 2012 — which ignored provisions of the wolf plan governing when lethal control of wolves is allowed. 

September 2013 – As gray wolves began to return to California, a study released by the Sonoma State University Anthropological Studies Center shed new light on the widespread historical distribution of wolves in the state. The report comes as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was considering whether to protect the animals under the state’s Endangered Species Act; it demonstrated the historic presence of gray wolves across California.

September 26, 2013 – The Pacific Wolf Coalition called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hold multiple public hearings in the three West Coast states on the agency’s proposal to remove gray wolves (Canis lupus) from the endangered species list. Combined, the coalition represents more than 1 million members and supporters in Washington, Oregon and California. The coalition’s appeal came in response to Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement earlier that month that it would hold only three public hearings nationwide, including just one in the West Coast.

October 21, 2013 – With the 2013 federal government shutdown over and funds flowing once again, the Arizona Game and Fish Department announced it would resume efforts that week to capture and permanently incarcerate two Mexican gray wolves.

November 12, 2013 – The Center and Greenpeace notified the Service that it is two years overdue in deciding whether to initiate an Endangered Species Act status review for southeast Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolves. A status review may lead to listing these wolves as threatened or endangered.

November 20, 2013 – Local activists from the Center and allies will rally in Sacramento to voice their opposition to a Service proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states. The proposal to delist wolves would strike a serious blow to wolf recovery across the country, including in California and other West Coast states where wolves are just beginning to make a comeback.

November 20, 2013 – Hundreds of people from all walks of life will testify at a hearing being held tonight in Albuquerque by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take public testimony on management of wolves. The agency has proposed to remove Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across much of the lower 48 states, but to retain protections for Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.

November 22, 2013 – Hundreds of wolf supporters showed up in force in Sacramento at a hearing — one of only five scheduled nationwide — held by the Obama administration to take public comments on its proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states.

December 16, 2013 – Documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity — which petitioned in February 2012 for state protection for gray wolves — show state wildlife officials and independent scientists agree that wolves are likely to return to California. The prediction had been reinforced over the past two weeks, when the wolf known as OR-7 made two more forays into the state from Oregon.  But despite that compelling evidence, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was undecided on whether to recommend awarding protection to wolves under the state’s Endangered Species Act, according to the agency’s draft status review of a state proposal to protect wolves that was obtained by the Center.

December 17, 2013  The Center and allies challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service’s premature removal of federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Wyoming. Arguments were heard at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

December 17, 2013 – The Center submitted comments on the Fish and Wildlife Service's "Proposed Revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population" of Mexican gray wolves — a response to a Center rulemaking petition, which nearly a decade 
ago had requested revisions to the 1998 rule for the Mexican gray wolf under the Administrative Procedure Act (see our March 2004 entry above).

January 8, 2014  The Center joined a coalition of groups in a lawsuit to stop a state-hired bounty hunter from exterminating two entire packs of wolves in the largest wilderness area in the lower 48, the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. According to the lawsuit, the U.S. Forest Service illegally allowed Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game to send the hired gun into the wild to kill wolves.

Janiuary 16, 2014 – Eight conservation groups representing tens of thousands of Washington residents filed official comments opposing a controversial federal agency’s attempt to give itself authority to kill endangered wolves in the state. In December the U.S. Department of Agriculture/ APHIS Wildlife Services published a draft “environmental assessment” proposing to broaden its authority to assist the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife killing wolves in response to livestock depredations. Conservation organizations rallied for Wildlife Services to prepare a more in-depth “environmental impact statement,” because the less-detailed assessment already completed contains significant gaps and fails to address specific issues that would significantly affect wolves and the human environment.

February 5, 2014 – In response to a 2012 petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended denying protection for gray wolves under California’s Endangered Species Act for the sole reason that there were no wolves in the state at that moment. The report was handed to the California Fish and Game Commission and made available to the public, leaving it up to the commission to decide whether or not wolves would be protected in California.  

February 6, 2014 – Twelve conservation organizations sent a letter to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife raising concerns about the agency’s increasingly aggressive approach to killing endangered wolves and urged a more protective stance when it comes to the state's fledgling wolf population. The groups, working together as the Washington Wolf Collaborative, requested that the department revise its protocol for lethal control of wolves involved in wolf-livestock conflicts. Specific requests include a greater emphasis on nonlethal measures to keep livestock away from wolves and ensuring that Washington’s wolf lethal control policy is at least as protective of wolves as policies in place for wolves in neighboring Oregon.

June 4, 2014 Responding to the Center's 2012 petition, in early June the California Fish and Game Commission voted to protect wolves under the state Endangered Species Act. The decision came just hours after it was confirmed that OR-7 — the famous wolf that wandered into California in late 2011 and returned periodically — had sired pups in southern Oregon.

August 1, 2014  The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission denied a petition filed by the Center and seeven other conservation groups seeking to limit when wolves can be killed in response to livestock depredations, and to require livestock producers to exhaust nonlethal measures to prevent depredations before lethal action can be taken. 

September 10, 2014  A coalition of conservation group, including the Center, put the Fish and Wildlife Service on notice that they intend to bring a lawsuit to hold the agency accountable for failing to produce and implement a valid recovery plan for the imperiled Mexican gray wolf.

Gray wolf photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/keith011764