Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wisconsin DNR receives permit for control of problem wolves

River Falls Journal

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources can now trap troublesome wolves using both lethal and non-lethal means. They received a permit from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is for 2006 an allows the DNR to trap up to 46 wolves that are killing livestock and domestic animals.

A preliminary count by the DNR of Wisconsin's gray wolf population for the winter of 2005-2006 shows that there are from 450 to 520 wolves in the state. "The wolf population apparently increased slightly from last year's levels," said Adrian Wydeven, mammalian ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

"The Natural Resources Board approved a Wolf Management Plan for Wisconsin in 1999," said Signe Holtz, director of the DNR's Bureau of Endangered Resources. "The goal of the plan is a healthy, sustainable gray wolf population. This permit is one of several tools we need to help us attain that goal."

Wisconsin has had authority from the federal government to trap and translocate or use lethal control on depredating wolves in the past, say wildlife officials, but temporarily lost that authority while the status of wolves across North America was examined in the courts.

"The ability to remove depredating wolves is necessary in our efforts to address landowner problems," said Holtz. "The state will use this authority to reduce damages caused to owners of hunting dogs and livestock from depredating wolves."

Wolves currently are listed as a federally endangered species in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board reclassified wolves from endangered to threatened in 1999, and delisted wolves to protected wild animal status on August 1, 2004. However, the federal listing takes precedence. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has announced its intent to remove wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of neighboring states from the federal Endangered Species List. Once that occurs, management of the wolf in Wisconsin will be guided by the Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan.

"Delisting at the federal level is the next big step in wolf management in Wisconsin," says Holtz. "Once that process is complete population management will occur at the state level allowing more flexibility and additional management options."

  • River Falls Journal

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