The Department of the Interior announced it has removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list, signaling a successful recovery under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The gray wolf spent more than four decades on the endangered species list. The population is now thriving in the lower 48 states.

“This should be heralded as a success story of the Endangered Species Act,” noted Montana Farm Bureau Executive Vice President John Youngberg. “The gray wolf in Montana has already been delisted and state and tribal management is working well. When the numbers required by a scientific study are reached, it’s time to delist that species. In the case of the gray wolf, those states where they have already been delisted are managing the species well, limiting conflict with livestock and keeping a check on the reduction of wildlife numbers—yet still have the species thrive.”

State and tribal wildlife management agencies will now be responsible for the management and protection of the gray wolf.

“This is an Endangered Species Act success story,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “The gray wolf joins more than 50 other animals, including the bald eagle, as an example of how careful management and partnerships between federal and state agencies can result in the successful recovery of a once-threatened species. The gray wolf population is now thriving so it is appropriate to turn management over to the states, which can oversee the species in a way that is most appropriate for each region.”

Over 1,600 species remain on the federal threatened and endangered list. Delisting the gray wolf allows the Department of the Interior to focus resources on other species in need of recovery.