The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation will make another push to have gray wolves removed from a federal list of endangered and protected species.
“The numbers of wolves living in Wisconsin far exceeds what was ever intended,” said Karen Gefvert, Director of Governmental Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is unable to effectively manage wolves because they are still protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.”
“This protection means that individuals are prohibited from legally shooting wolves that damage their property and kill their livestock and pets,” Gefvert added.
The Wisconsin Farm Bureau will submit a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as it accepts public comment until July 5 on whether or not to delist gray wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan from protected status.
“We encourage other concerned citizens to do the same,” Gefvert said. “The Farm Bureau would also like to know of examples of damages caused by wolves.”
Earlier this year, Congress revoked federal protection for the gray wolf elsewhere, allowing the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Utah to manage their own wolf populations.
“Delisting of the gray wolves now would allow our state DNR to assume management of the growing wolf population and take care of those problem wolves that have become consistent threats to humans and their livestock,” Gefvert said.
Gefvert notes that recent federal cuts to funding for wolf management will mean even less attention to problem wolves that are preying on livestock. According to the Wisconsin DNR there were 119 livestock or pets killed or injured by wolves in 2010.
Gray wolf populations in the Upper Midwest have increased fairly consistently since being listed as endangered or threatened since 1967. Today’s population of approximately 690 wolves is nearly double the DNR’s target management population of 350 wolves. There are an estimated 3,000 wolves in Minnesota and 550 in Upper Michigan.