Madison--The Fish and Wildlife Service recently removed gray wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota and parts of adjoining states from the federal Threatened and Endangered Species List. The news was welcomed by state Farm Bureaus in all three states.
According to Karen Gefvert, director of governmental relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the ruling will “finally provide relief for Wisconsin farmers who have experienced livestock losses from wolf attacks.” The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will now be allowed to manage a wolf population that has grown from the state’s established goal of 350 to more than 800 wolves.
“We all understand the need to protect those species that are endangered, but the wolf population has far exceeded endangered numbers and needs to be brought under control,” said Ernie Birchmeier, Michigan Farm Bureau livestock and dairy specialist. Nearly 700 wolves live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The decision to de-list the gray wolf returns management of the species to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota’s gray wolf population is estimated at 2,921. Wolf populations in all three states will be monitored for at least five years by the FWS to ensure the species continues to thrive. According to the FWS, if it appears at any time that the gray wolf cannot sustain itself without the protections of the Endangered Species Act, the listing process can again be initiated, including emergency listing.