Thursday, May 11, 2006

Farm group supports attempt to evade court ruling on Eastern wolf population

WFBF Supports Federal Plan to Delist Gray Wolves

The state's largest farm group says it supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's plan to create a new population segment in order to de-list the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list. According to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service proposal would designate the Western Great Lakes Population of Gray Wolves as a Distinct Population Segment, which would enable the agency to remove the gray wolf from the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment.

Officials say the plan to segment out the Western Great Lakes district is needed after a federal judge stopped the agency's plan to de-list the gray wolf in the Eastern recovery zone last year. While the wolf had made recovery in the Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin, the recovery has not advanced similarly in states in the Northeast and West that were also included in the Eastern recovery zone.

WFBF Governmental Relations Jeff Lyon says this proposal would pull the Great Lakes region out of that larger recovery zone, thus giving the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource greater tools to manage the gray wolf population in the state.

"Wisconsin has met and exceeded the goals for numbers and distribution of wolves that were established in its 1989 recovery plan for the gray wolf," Lyon says. "The Wisconsin landscape cannot handle any more wolves. In northern Wisconsin, where most wolves are located, land use is a mix of county and state-owned forest, lake homes, small tracts owned by private landowners, and farms with land suitable for grazing cattle and other livestock."

The Farm Bureau said because the numbers and distribution of the gray wolf have been sustained over a number of years, meeting the scientific goals of wolf recovery set forth in the recovery plan, the gray wolf should be de-listed as an Endangered Species.

The USDA reports that 300 head of cattle and 2,700 head of calves were killed by predators in Wisconsin last year. Two- thirds of those animals were killed by coyotes with the remaining one-third killed predominantly by wolves and bears.

  • Wisconsin Ag Connection

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