On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a proposed rule (pdf) to delist the gray wolf (Canis lupus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) throughout the United States and Mexico. The proposed rule also proposes to maintain protection for the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest by listing it as endangered under the ESA. Presently, the gray wolf is listed in 42 states, including California.
Previously, the Service determined (pdf) that the southwestern population of the gray wolf – known as the Mexican gray wolf – may warrant a separate listing as a subspecies or a Distinct Population Segment (DPS). However, because the entire population of the gray wolf already received protection under the ESA, the Service determined that a subspecies listing was not warranted.
Now, in light of the proposed rule delisting the gray wolf entirely, and thereby removing its protection under the ESA, the Service will reconsider listing the Mexican gray wolf population as a subspecies or DPS. The Service will accept comments on the proposed rule until September 11, 2013.