Skip to comments.Great Lakes wolves lose federal protection
Posted on 12/22/2011 12:21:05 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
A resurgent population has prompted authorities to lift federal protections for the gray wolf in Wisconsin and other parts of the Upper Midwest.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday that it was removing Endangered Species Act protections for the wolf in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and portions of adjoining states.
After the announcement, Gov. Scott Walker ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to implement a state wolf management plan, which is designed to protect animals while also being able to control a growing population.
Wolves - which can travel up to 30 miles a day - have soared to about 800 in Wisconsin. That far exceeds the state's goal of 350. There are now more than 4,000 wolves in the Midwest.
Under the state management plan, the DNR or those acting on its behalf will be able to kill problem wolves. The agency will be able to issue permits to landowners to kill wolves on their property where there are documented cases of depredation or harassment.
A Fish and Wildlife spokesman said the changes are expected to go into effect at the end of January.
The announcement appears to bring a protracted battle over the wolf's status to an end.
The Fish and Wildlife Service made several attempts in recent years to remove the wolf from its list of endangered species, but faced an array of legal challenges.
One stumbling block was resolved when the agency said it had dropped a plan to elevate a subspecies of the gray wolf to full species status.
Also, the northeastern United States will not be a part of the delisting. There are currently few, if any, wolves in that region, and some environmentalists wanted to make sure they have a chance to return there as well.
Walker and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp applauded the Fish and Wildlife Service's decision, as did several environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"I firmly support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to delist the wolf in the upper Great Lakes states," Walker said in a statement. "Wisconsin has exceeded its delisting goal eight times over and must have flexibility to manage wolf problems."
The Natural Resources Defense Council said that even though it had fought the removal of federation protection in the northern Rockies, it's a different story in the Midwest.
"There are a lot more wolves," the group said.
But the Center for Biological Diversity said the decision was premature and contended that wolves remained threatened by disease and human persecution. It criticized Minnesota for using a bounty system to kill problem wolves, and said there should be less emphasis on lethal controls. The group said it supports the government's conclusion to retain protections for wolves in the Northeast.
As its numbers soared in recent years, the wolf became a lightning rod of controversy. Motorists bought state license plates with its iconic image, but some deer hunters blamed wolves for reducing the deer population in parts of the north. At least seven wolves are believed to have been killed during the 2011 deer hunting season.
Attacks on livestock and pets also escalated tensions. The state has paid out more than $1 million for animal depredation by wolves from 1985 to 2010, state records show.
Despite their prevalence today, wolves were wiped off the state's landscape from 1960 to 1974. In the mid-1970s, they began to migrate from Minnesota.
The Fish and Wildlife Service said wolf populations will be monitored for at least five years, and if the numbers backslide, the agency could move to relist the species.
Also, in Wisconsin, lawmakers are expected to introduce legislation that could lead the way toward a hunting season for wolves.
The burgeoning gray wolf population in Wisconsin has prompted the lifting of federal protection across the Upper Midwest. The state is creating a management plan to help control the population.
Don’t they make good fur coats?
Shhhush. If Obama hears this he will immediately draft and sign another executive order.
Wisconsin Wolf ping
I had one of these ambling through my yard in Mequon a few weeks ago. Big! I have a friend who actually has lured one to his yard (which is down on the river) by giving him a pheasant every night. He won’t get a pheasant at MY house. The police have already given my husband the go-ahead to shoot him as a predator. My guy could be a crossbred wolf/coyote because he has a lot of tan in his fur.
I’ve pinged this to the Wisconsin list. If SJackson wants to ping the outdoors list, please do so.
Our forefathers got rid of these crazy predators for one reason....they killed people food.
Please be careful, afraidfortherepublic! If your neighbor feeds it, won’t it come around every night looking for a meal?!
Even the muslim ones?
“The announcement appears to bring a protracted battle over the wolf’s status to an end.”
Ummmmmm. Nope. The enviros will not give up. Ever. At 8,000 instead of 800 wolves, they’ll still be going to the courts to protect the varmints.
They NEVER quit. If the wolves eat your children, they’ll defend wolves against kids.
He’s not my CLOSE neighbor. He lives way over on the other side of town in a regular neighborhood. I’m in a rural area. I don’t understand why he’s feeding it and why his neighobrs are tolerating it.
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