The US Fish and Wildlife Service denied an appeal by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and State Attorney General’s Office to change the classification of wolves from “endangered” to “threatened.” In December of 2014, a federal court ordered wolves in the Western Great Lakes to be put back on the endangered species list.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service stated not enough evidence was presented in the appeal to change the court’s ruling on the status of wolves.
In February of 2015, a number of wildlife enthusiasts, the Michigan DNR, and even the Human Society of America appealed the decision to list wolves as “endangered” asking the federal wildlife agency to reclassify wolves as “threatened.” This would have still provided some protection to wolves, but also allowed states more authority in population management. There was a controversial wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the autumn of 2013, but only half of the available tags for wolf harvesting were filled.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service will not consider any more action on the subject of wolf classification in the contiguous 48 states.
Despite the ruling to keep wolves on the endangered species list today, the Michigan DNR developed a wolf management plan for the state, and according to the plan believe that, “Wolves in Michigan have surpassed State and Federal population recovery goals … and regardless of the Federal listing status, the State has and will continue to have a management responsibility for wolves in the state.” The Michigan DNR considers 600 wolves currently living in the state as surpassing recovery from extinction.