The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today their proposal to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species, returning future management of the population to state and local conservation officials everywhere in the lower 48 states except in the southwest.

The announcement comes after the delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain States. These areas have wolf populations surpassing targets by as much as 300%. On March 15th, 2013, U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) led a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service requesting this national delisting.

Rep. Lummis issued the following statement after the announcement:

 "I’m encouraged to see state and local species management efforts recognized for their effectiveness and efficiency. We all ought to take a moment to recognize and celebrate conservation victories like this. But tomorrow, its back to the grindstone. In the Southwest is a struggling wolf population that has not thrived – we must consider new ideas in that region. I remember all too well the isolation Wyoming has felt regarding wolves to leave my friends in New Mexico and Arizona behind. And we must be ever vigilant of the courtroom antics of those who would rather sue than celebrate a conservation success.”