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Conservation Win: Federal Decision to Delist Wolves Moves Forward

December 21st, 2011

Michigan United Conservation Clubs today applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the federal endangered species list. They also confirmed that, based on sound-scientific evidence, there is only one species of wolf, Canis lupus, in the region.

The federal delisting rule removing wolves from the endangered species list will be published in the Federal Register Wednesday, Dec. 28, and will take effect Friday, Jan. 27, 30 days after its publication.

After meeting the criteria to delist more than a decade ago, conservation advocates finally won the day. Wolves no longer need federal protection. It should be the state’s responsibility and authority to manage wildlife within its boundaries. MUCC worked diligently with the DNR and other groups to establish a collaborative and science-based Wolf Management Plan back in 2008. Once delisting is effective on January 27, 2012, this plan classifies wolves as a “protected species” and allows for flexible management options for the state to control problem wolves. A 2008 state law MUCC pushed for also allows livestock and dog owners the ability to protect their private property from wolf depredation. It’s now time to allow that plan to be put into place.

This should be seen as a conservation success story; if the Endangered Species Act is allowed to work, we can move endangered species on to a path of recovery. Rebounding from a few hundred wolves in Minnesota in the 1970s when listed as endangered, the region’s gray wolf population now numbers more than 4,300 and occupies large portions of Minnesota (2900 wolves), Wisconsin (782), and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (687). The Michigan and Wisconsin combined population alone is more than 14 times the original recovery goal.

However, with all the legal challenges from anti-hunting groups time after time, the process has been slow and very frustrating for sportsmen and women who truly understand the benefits of state management. Wolves have already been federally delisted in 2007 and 2009, but lawsuits have placed them back on the list each time.

Removing wolves from the Endangered Species List and implementing the Wolf Management Plan allows for that management. Science, as always, should be the driving force behind wildlife management issues.

MUCC thanks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for keeping to their word, adhering to their timeline, and most of all, for listening to the facts.

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  • ken48827

    As much as I enjoy the presence of wolves, I applaud the decision as a correct and meaningful one.

  • Davidfmc

    While a lifetime hunter, I don’t believe this is the correct move. Wolves should be protected.
    Dave1234

    • Mike Hill

      You diffently haven’t been to the U.P. anytime in the last 5 yrs. Very few deer, Lots of wolf tracks and sightings. They need to be managed. If you really are a life time hunter you’d realize this.

    • Maggie

      Read the article. They will be listed as a “protected species” but under state protection.

    • turkeyhunter

      Having been closely connected to the group that is making recommendations on the wolf program…. I can tell you that this is a very good move. We will most likely not see a wolf season anytime soon, however, when there are problem areas they can be managed….

      This does not open up wolves for killing it just gives that state to right to control them… We will still have too many wolves in some areas for years to come

    • Joe Hitchings

      I seriously doubt that you( David) are a hunter or you would be more in tune with the wolf problems. When the wolves were introduced back into the UP the carrying capacity was supposed to be slightly more than 300. This was based on scientific criteria. I was happy to hear that we would again have wolves in Michigan. However due to the animal right nuts and their constant lawsuits we have way to many in the UP. I would bet that Dave hasn’t been up to the UP and talked to the residents about wolf preditation on farm animals, pets and hunting dogs. We now need to hunt these wolves until we reach the original stated carrying capacity.

  • UP Hunter

    AMEN! Wolves are destroying the deer and turkey herds in the U.P. When does the wolf season start?

  • Tom_hiltuen

    It’s a good move…let the State manage the wolves in a logical studied manner.

  • October1

    Davidfmc,
    Hmm…Your a lifetime hunter, but you think a wolf population that is already 14 times over the goal still needs protecting?

  • MOT

    Good move. Now let the DNR & NRC make the rules.
    Don’t bend to the armchair know it alls sway you.

  • Dick Brown

    I understand where some people want to eliminate the woves but to delist them could mean the end to wild wolves in the UP.

  • Kcreed71

    I think they should be extinct.There was a reason why man made them few from many.They`ll be like coyote`s

  • Jwiseman81

    About time

  • Anonymous

    They should be managed right back to about the same numbers we had in 1980.

  • Lamontagnedaniel

    for every complaint about the delisting of the wolf, put 10 wolves in the complainants neighborhood.

  • Dcburtch

    Excellent,maybe we’ll save some deer,–no doubt.

  • Shatch6850

    Thank you for keeping us informed on this and so many other issues.

  • Len

    it’s about time! Good to know,as we hunt the UP,on occasion ,and want to protect ourselves IF confronted in the rare times they attack people—-hope never,but you never know.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how I can trust the people that planted them here, in the first place, to mange them now.

  • http://rork.myopenid.com/ rork

    The link points to stuff worth reading, and so is
    http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/delisting/pdf/GreatLakesWolfFinalDelistFAQDec2011.pdf and several other FWS pages:
    ‘The Michigan plan, revised in July 2008, calls for a minimum sustainable population of 200 wolves in the Upper Peninsula. Habitat, prey and land-use analysis showed that the Upper Peninsula can support between 590 and 1,300 wolves. No upper population limit is specified, but an upper limit will be strongly influenced by “…public preferences regarding levels of positive and negative wolf–human interactions.”’
    The Michigan wolf management plan (which says that, and more) is also great reading.

    • Tom Springer

      In other words, how many wolves can people (and not the deer herd) tolerate? It’s just a matter of perspective. I’m not sure how many deer 687 wolves will eat in a year, but I can’t imagine it would be more than 10 percent — 6,000 — of the 60,000 that’s killed annually on Michigan roadways. Yet I haven’t heard MUCC make any legislative pitches to limit car use in favor of public transportation as a way to mitigate against this far greater threat to Michigan’s deer herd. You can talk about science all you want, but science usually has an agenda. In this case, it’s to favor management strategies that benefit either wolves or deer. Enough already. Let the deer herds and wolf packs manage themselves. As we’ve seen with the wolves and moose on Isle Royale, nature will strike the right balance.

      • Outdoor Lovn’ Guy

        Wow, “out of touch” is the first thing that comes to mind. If you make off comments like “let the deer herds manage themselves” one would have to expect some comment. I feel that you should really educate yourself on the benefits of Hunting/Fishing/Wildlife management. MUCC and Sportsmen(women) do way more for this state than you will ever realize. Isle Royale is a very rare and small area compared to The mainland. That is like comparing management of a pond to a Great Lake. By the way. I think there is much more science and management that takes place on that Island than you realize.

      • Ken

        You are out of touch. It is known that a wolf will eat one deer a week on average. With 687 wolves in the state that equals; 35,724 deer a year to the wolves, and that doesn’t include the other game species that are lost to wolves. What most people don’t understand is this; science and modern technology have taken mother nature out of the picture for all animals to exist naturally. As sportsmen and women we need to have a check and balance system in place to take care of what nature can no longer sustain. Since the DNR has that task we should support them in their process, but we should also check them and let our voices be heard when they get out of line. One way I believe they are out of line is the doe kill, with unlimited tags, pretty much, for southern Michigan. It is bowing to the Insurance Companies and an easy way to fix a problem that needs more thought and a better process.

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