Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wanted: Wisconsin Dells Wolf

Justin Ware

In mid March, this lone wolf living outside Wisconsin Dells was, at worst, a minor nuisance. It would show itself and walk right up to people, even play with their dogs. And according to the state department of natural resources, that's part of the problem.

"With these type of atypical situations, they can lead to interactions between humans and wolves that we don't want to take place," said Signe Holtz, Wisconsin DNR. And Holtz says those interactions have been taking place. Holtz says the wolf has attacked a calf, a dog and lunged at a farmer.

So the DNR made the decision to trap and kill the wolf.

Then came the emails.

Dozens were sent to the DNR, local politicians ... even news organizations ...most of them calling for the wolf's live capture and transfer to a sanctuary in Colorado. The co–founder of that sanctuary, says they'll remove the wolf with no cost to the DNR. "Whether that means they capture it and turn it over to us," said Frank Wendland, co-founder, wolves offered life and friendship, "or whether they want us to come out and actually trap it and transport it here to Colorado."

Holtz says that is a possible scenario, but highly unlikely, because of liability concerns. But, she says they are looking into other options now, that include transferring to wolf to another location and not killing the animal. "We are considering alternatives right now and looking for a way to resolve the issue," said Holtz.

Wolves are a protected species, but wildlife experts want to point out that sometimes killing a problem animal, is in the best interest of the species as a whole. Because if they don't manage the species themselves, they say other, less qualified people, might take the matter into their own hands.