Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lawsuit attempts to put gray wolves back on endangered list

Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 
A new lawsuit aims to halt the wolf hunting seasons in Wisconsin and Minnesota and put the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes area back on the endangered species list.

Some wildlife conservation groups don't like that Minnesota and Wisconsin went ahead with wolf hunting seasons less than a year after the animal came off the federal endangered species list in the western Great Lakes region. A coalition, including the Humane Society of the United States, has sued the Fish and Wildlife Service over its delisting of the gray wolf. Humane Society Wisconsin Director Alyson Bodai said hunting adds to other threats that wolves face.

Bodai said the Endangered Species Act requires that species fully recover their numbers across their traditional range before delisting, and she said wolves have not come back in several other states. Kurt Thiede of the Wisconsin DNR said it's disappointing to see wolf delisting go back to court again. He said if the wildlife groups win, killing of problem wolves would become more difficult, and it would block the state going ahead with its management plan that aims to reduce the wolf population, “so that would take away hunting and trapping to manage the population.”

Thiede said if federal funding dries up, it would be harder for the state to reimburse farmers who lose livestock due to wolves. The Fish and Wildlife Service has 60 days to formally respond to the delisting lawsuit.