PLC and NCBA Disappointed in Court Decision to Relist Gray Wolves Under ESA

WASHINGTON (February 10, 2022) – Today, the Public Lands Council (PLC) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) expressed opposition to the U.S. District Court’s ruling to remand and vacate the gray wolf Endangered Species Act (ESA) delisting announced by the Trump administration in 2020.

“It’s disappointing that environmental activism carried more weight than science in this case. Rather than ruling on due process and adherence to recovery criterion, Judge White chose to remand the rule and undermine one of the most successful ESA recovery stories in United States history,” said Public Lands Council Executive Director and NCBA Executive Director of Natural Resources Kaitlynn Glover. “This is just another attempt by activist groups to ignore the facts and rewrite the history of gray wolf recovery in the U.S.”

PLC and NCBA believe in making science-based decisions, and data shows the gray wolf population is recovered and no longer meets requirements for a listing. Since being listed under the ESA in 1974, the gray wolf population has seen tremendous recovery, exceeding recovery goals by 300 percent.

“ESA should not be used as a permanent management tool. Today’s decision conflicts with the intended purpose of the Act and removes critical management tools for wolves that pose a tremendous threat to farmers and ranchers, rural economies, and vital land and natural resource conservation,” said Glover.

Cattle and sheep producers experience, daily, the consequences of gray wolf overpopulation.

“One year, I lost 26 calves due to gray wolf attacks,” said Minnesota cattleman Joe Wilebski. “As a producer, my top priority is the health and safety of my livestock. The consequences of gray wolf attacks go far beyond the immediate loss of livestock. When wolves attack animals, even if they aren’t killed, it causes long-term effects on their overall health and well-being.”

Across the country, increased attacks on livestock are threatening the viability of family-owned farms and ranches. PLC and NCBA will continue to fight for science-based decisions regarding ESA listing and look toward the Biden administration to do the same.


In May 2021, PLC and NCBA led a coalition of agricultural groups, including the American Sheep Industry Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the American Forest Resource Council, to file an amicus brief in defense of delisting the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Further, PLC and NCBA appealed the Ninth Circuit’s denial of intervention.

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