Rural America

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016, 5:39 pm

Amendment Seeking End to Short-lived Ceasefire Puts Wolves Back in Crosshairs

By Rural America In These Times

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(HFW)

(St. Paul, Minn)—Today the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee approved an amendment to the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2016 which, if enacted and signed into law, would remove the gray wolf from federal Endangered Species List protections in Wyoming, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. The measure would also prohibit courts from intervening in those states.

In all states where wolves previously lost federal protections, hunting and trapping were implemented and wolf persecution and poaching immediately resumed. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has said they will “pick up where they left off” with a wolf hunting and trapping season if wolves lost federal protections.

“This amendment has the potential to destroy the Endangered Species Act and puts the wolf on the path to extinction once again,” said Howling For Wolves Founder and President Dr. Maureen Hackett:

 “If our Minnesota wolves do not have federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, we most likely would have another state-sponsored wolf trophy hunt. This unpopular, unnecessary, and reckless policy has little to do with scientific management or the popular will of Minnesotans. Wolves continue to need federal protection and their recovery must be supported by the states’ agencies. Last summer the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced its annual wolf population survey numbers. Almost 100 wolf packs (25 percent) were eliminated from 2014 to early 2015 in Minnesota, and our wolf population is now down to nearly 1988 levels. Wolves have historically been persecuted and countless unknown wolves are killed illegally each year. Thus, even having wolves placed on the Endangered Species List was a major struggle.”

Currently, Minnesota wolves have federal protection and may not be hunted. They are listed as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act, and may be killed in the defense of human life or by government agents for livestock predation. This change in status happened December 19, 2014 in a federal court ruling overturning a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decision to delist the Great Lakes wolf. Minnesota has had three consecutive wolf hunting and trapping seasons. After the first year following the first wolf hunting and trapping, the wolf population was decreased by 25 percent. In just the past year, the number of wolf packs (families) was decreased by another 25 percent (nearly 100 packs). Currently, the total Minnesota wolf population trends are the lowest since 1988, with a potentially massive decrease in the genetic diversity needed for their future survivability.

Howling For Wolves (HFW) is a wolf advocacy organization that aims to educate the public and policy-makers about wolves to foster understanding and tolerance, and to ensure their long-term survival in Minnesota. HFW seeks innovative non-lethal solutions for conflict prevention and coexistence where wolves are perceived to be a threat. We oppose the random killing of non-problem wolves for trophies and the cruel methods utilized. HFW’s current efforts focus on the Minnesota’s gray wolves, which is the largest and only original wolf population (never went extinct) remaining in the lower 48 states.

For an in-depth story on the history and controversy surrounding the Gray Wolf, click here



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