On the day of the first public wolf hunting and trapping season in the Great Lakes region in more than 40 years, The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals served notice that they will file suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore federal protections for Great Lakes wolves under the Endangered Species Act. The groups are also asking the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota to postpone wolf hunting and trapping until the case can be decided on the merits.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s most recent decision to delist wolves became effective earlier this year, after multiple previous attempts to delist wolves were struck down by the courts over the course of the last decade.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put faith in the state wildlife agencies to responsibly manage wolf populations, but their overzealous and extreme plans to allow for trophy hunting and recreational trapping immediately after de-listing demonstrate that such confidence was unwarranted,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO for The HSUS. “Between Minnesota’s broken promise to wait five years before hunting wolves, and Wisconsin’s reckless plan to trap and shoot hundreds of wolves in the first year, it is painfully clear that federal protection must be reasserted. The states have allowed the most extreme voices to grab hold of wolf management, and the result could be devastating for this species.”
In Minnesota, hunters and trappers can kill as many as 400 of the estimated 3,000 wolves in the state. That is additive to the damage control killing, poaching, and other forms of human-caused mortality.
In Wisconsin, the quota for killing wolves in the state is roughly 24 percent of the estimated wolf population in the state. Including depredations, illegal kills, and vehicle collisions, the human-caused death toll could be more than 50 percent of the wolf population – nearly double the level of human-caused mortality the best available science indicates the population can withstand.
Some lawmakers in Michigan, where livestock owners are already allowed to use lethal means as a first resort when a gray wolf preys upon livestock, are pushing for legislation that would create an open sport hunting season on wolves.
The groups have filed today a 60-day notice of their intent to sue over the rule – as required under the Endangered Species Act. If the agency does not reconsider the delisting rule over the next 60 days, The HSUS and The Fund for Animals will ask a federal court to reinstate federal ESA protection for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region. Both organizations had hoped that sensible policies would prevail in the states, and also took note of the legal claims filed by other organizations seeking to avert reckless killing of wolves. Those cases have not resolved several of our concerns favorably for the wolves, leading us to file notice to sue.
SOURCE and LINK:
The Humane Society of the United States
Creator-Kramer, Gary; Publisher-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service