Feds Again Propose Delisting Of Wolves

You may have seen the story in today’s Duluth News Tribune and online at www.duluthnewstribune.com that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided — again — to propose removing the timber wolf from the Endangered Species List in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The proposal was prompted in part by petitions from both Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed delisting before, but the process was on hold because of law suits.

Below, you’ll find the News Tribune story on the proposed delisting, written by my colleague John Myers. You’ll also find a statement issued today by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank.


By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune

// The federal government is ready to try again to take wolves off the endangered species list in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing a proposal in the Federal Register today calling for public comment on its plan to delist wolves and hand their management back to state and tribal wildlife officials.

Today’s proposal is a response to four petitions that demanded the federal agency take action to end federal protections for wolves in the region.

“We find that the petitions present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that removing the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan from the list may be warranted,’’ the response notes.

The federal response is not surprising because the government has tried three times to delist wolves, only to be thwarted by legal action.

“It was kind of any easy call since we’ve already published proposals to delist,’’ Laura Ragan, endangered species listing coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told the News Tribune.

Ragan said a new wrinkle has entered the debate — new research showing increasing evidence that the region may be dealing with two distinct species of wolf: Eastern and gray. It’s not clear whether scientists and the government will ultimately declare each species separate for biological and legal distinction, a debate that could further delay changes in how wolves are managed.

The two species, or subspecies, are genetically different but geographically mixed and difficult to distinguish.

The service now will accept public comments to decide whether delisting is warranted and, if so, will develop a formal proposal to end the federal protection. That proposal may face a court challenge by wolf supporters.

The Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of natural resources also filed separate petitions seeking the removal of endangered species protections for the western Great Lakes wolves in March and April. Earlier this month, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and five other groups gave notice that they would sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service if the federal agency doesn’t move quickly to remove Great Lakes wolves from the endangered species list.

The Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, the Dairyland Committee of Safari Club International Chapters of Wisconsin, National Wild Turkey Federation of Wisconsin, Whitetails of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Firearms Owners, Ranges, Clubs and Educators joined in signing the petition.

Meanwhile, pro-wolf groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, have called for the federal government to continue protections here until wolves have been restored across far more areas of their original range.

There are about 3,200 wolves in Minnesota and about 700 each in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They currently are off limits to trapping, hunting or harassment, except in Minnesota, where federal trappers are allowed to kill wolves near where livestock or pets have been killed.


“We are pleased the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found merit in the Wisconsin and Minnesota petitions to remove the gray wolf from the federal endangered species list in our states,” Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank said today.  “This is a positive first step to eventual delisting. We are confident the upcoming review of scientific information on wolves will show Wisconsin has a healthy and growing population of gray wolves that no longer needs federal protection and that the state has a well reasoned and scientifically valid management plan in place for wolves.”

2 Responses

  1. Bobbie

    Shall we just get rid of all of the Wolves?? Maybe we would be better off! Then how about we get rid of the Coyotes too, they are eating our pets. The prairie dogs are next with their nasty holes in the ground that make my horse fall and go lame (so the black footed ferret goes down because of the prairie dogs who cares). I guess we should get rid of the Elk, and deer they are eating our grain fields, farmers in eastern Washington are loosing the income they desperately need because the Elk get into the fields and tear them to pieces, and the organic farmers are having a hell of a time dealing with the deer. After that we can get rid of the Mountain Lions, they are endangering our children and livestock.
    I can guarantee that whichever of these animals you love, there is another who hates it and wants it to disappear. Who will get their way on these issues largely depends on who has the most political capital. It won’t matter if you love to hunt Elk, if the farmers happen to be on the side of more political capital then they will be taken out. Same with the Mountain lions, wolves, and coyotes.
    How about this.. God put all of these animals here, some of us love them, some of us hate them. there is a purpose to these animals every one of them! Without Wolves and Coyotes we would have a rat population that would run us out of our neighborhoods! Without the Elk population we would miss our fall excuse to go walk the land and provide for our families in the way that has been done for hundreds of years. Lets make sure that the animals that were here when man got to this continent are kept alive and well long after we are gone, I am pretty sure our grandchildren would be really pissed if they were not able to see a wild Elk in its migration, or hear a coyote call to tell its partner it has found food, or catch sight of a Wolf pup tumbling out of his den for the first time to join his pack! There was a balance of these creatures before we started shooting the seemingly endless stream of them. And if we pick on the top predators to destroy we are going to have a Big Big problem with all of the little ones that God provided as their food!

  2. mr meters as isaid in my first email the dnr hasno idea how meny wolves in mii or wis i trapp every spare moment i beentrappinyfor 56 years im in the woods not in my new poorly mared dnr truck the wolves are very meruos id sayminnmore like 7000 iknow i see them every time im out thee thank you tell dr to get out off thier truck and look if they know whattooklook for theirdevestainy our deer iveseenit thank you bill thompson

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