The final rule to remove the western Great Lakes population of the gray wolf from protection under the Endangered Species Act is expected to be published in the Federal Register today (Dec. 28, 2011).
The rule will take effect 30 days after publication, so if all goes as planned, that will be Jan. 27, 2012.
The rule applies to gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and “portions of adjoining states,” according to the US Fish and Wildlife press release announcing the final rule.
A map from the US Fish and Wildlife Service of the “Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment” of gray wolves suggests that the adjoining states are North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and the tiniest slivers of Indiana and Ohio.
More information about this population segment, including lots of links, is available from the Midwest region of the USFWS, here.
Read the USFWS press release for details such as the total population in the area (4,000, with more than half in Minnesota).
This is the third time in the past five years that Minnesota’s wolf population has been delisted, notes the Saint Cloud Times. This time, the ruling is expected to stand, the article says. Read the rest here.
Map: courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service