Michigan Wolf Management Assistance CutDecember 3rd, 2011
Federal officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services (USDA-WS) involved in managing the state’s wolves have discontinued their work because of federal budget cuts that eliminated funding for the program. As of September 30, the funding is gone but MUCC has been in contact with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin’s offices to have funding reinstated until wolves can be delisted.
In Fiscal Year 2011, USDA Wildlife Services responded to situations in which 21 cattle/calves and 5 sheep were killed by wolves. They provided assistance in 5 situations in which horses were threatened but were not killed. Even though there was not a horse killed, it is a measure of USDA-WS efforts that they might have prevented such a loss.
This it is not just about livestock protection. Wolves are increasingly seen as threats to human safety. In FY 11, USDA-WS provided assistance in over 100 instances of safety concerns. Of course, many of these are multiple people for the same wolf threat but it indicates just how involved a single event can be. All our efforts to delist and manage wolves will be severely compromised if there is not a prompt effective response to human safety threats.
Senators Stabenow and Levin have requested funding for USDA-WS staff to continue to address any of the above situations through the end of the year. Then, hopefully, the delising will be approved and Michigan can take up management based on our management plan.