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Status of gray wolves in northern Illinois re-classified as state threatened

January 23, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Prairie State Outdoors

SPRINGFIELD- The status of gray wolves north of Interstate 80 in Illinois has been changed to state-threatened following the removal of the Great Lakes population of wolves from federal Endangered Species Act protection.

While wolves dispersing from northern states into Illinois are rare, any gray wolves in Illinois found north of I-80 are listed as threatened under state law, while those south of the interstate remain federally endangered. 

The change becomes effective Jan. 27.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protection for the gray wolf in portions of the western Great Lakes because wolves in the core recovery states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have exceeded recovery goals.

In areas where wolves were delisted, which includes parts of adjoining states like northern Illinois where wolves may possibly disperse, states and tribes are now responsible for wolf management.

The Service will oversee wolf population monitoring efforts for at least five years to ensure wolves continue to thrive. 

In the past 10 years, Illinois hunters and others have encountered wolves, including a wolf struck by a car in McHenry County near Chain O’Lakes State Park in 2005. 

The potential for range expansion will continue as long as habitat and food sources are available.


For more information on gray wolves in the Midwest, go to http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf.  For information on Illinois’ state and threatened wildlife, go to http://dnr.state.il.us/espb

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