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Ecology alert: Feds remove protections for gray wolf by delisting from the Endangered Species list.

Gray wolf populations have rebounded considerably throughout the United States after being protected from trapping, hunting, and poisoning by being listed on the federal Endangered Species list for more than 45 years. Wolves were hunted nearly to extinction in Wisconsin and the rest of the U.S. throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but populations are currently estimated at over 6,000 nationally and more than 1,000 in Wisconsin alone. Prior to the arrival of European settlers, Wisconsin was likely home to more than 5,000 wolves.

Federal Dept. of the Interior officials, and Wisconsin state DNR officials, said the decision to remove gray wolf protections was due to wolf populations meeting conservation goals. WI DNR officials have already stated their intentions to allow wolf hunting and other lethal measures to control wolf populations, especially where farmers feel that wolves are harming livestock or other farming activities. Farmers in northern Wisconsin have already expressed enthusiasm for wolf control measures. Other groups, especially Wisconsin’s tribes and state and local environmental groups, are concerned. While it is important for farmers to protect their livestock and investment, it is important to explore the use of non-lethal control measures, such as guard animals, to protect livestock herds. Wisconsin tribes have long maintained a spiritual and ecological connection to wolves, and state managers and farmers could learn from the tribes’ cultural and historic experiences.

We are concerned about the ecological implications of Wisconsin reinstating the wolf hunt. Visit the WI DNR’s public comments portal to make your voice heard about wolf population management in Wisconsin:  https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/publicinput

Go to WPR for more on this story:  https://www.wpr.org/trump-administration-removes-endangered-species-protections-gray-wolf-lower-48-states