Thursday, February 19, 2015

#Wolf resolution adopted by US Senate

Will Michigan wolves stay on the endangered list?
Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sen. Tom Casperson, R-District 38, recently put in a resolution to request the re-removal of the wolves from the endangered species list, after a DC district court judge ruled to have them added back to the list.

 Casperson said, via phone, “Since it was a federal decision, all we can do is ask for them to be delisted again.” That is why he had to file a resolution rather than a bill. His resolution, which was adopted on Feb. 10, is “a resolution to support scientifically-based state management of gray wolves and to call for legislative action by the U.S. Congress and an appeal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in an effort to remove the Western Great Lakes gray wolf population from the endangered and threatened species list.”

 The recent relisting has made it so that even farmers trying to protect their livestock can no longer take care of problem wolves entering their property. However, some argue that the scientific methods used by the DNR and FWS for population control are not effective.

 Because of possible fabrications by one farmer in the U.P. as to how many cattle he lost to wolves, many are arguing that the wolves are not as much of a danger as many would like us to believe. Nonetheless, there are other reports of farmers losing livestock and families losing dogs (not just hunting dogs).

 In previous conversations with Jill Fritz, with the Human Society who spearheads the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, mention was made of a report, titled ‘Evaluating the scientific soundness of plans for harvesting wolves to manage depredations in Michigan.’ In this report put out in August 2013 by numerous college professors, they claim that there is no science backing the DNR and FWS’s plans for management and that even if they came up with a goal it wouldn’t work. They also express concern about the wolves changing their behaviors due to the harvesting.

 As with any controversial subject, there will be pros and cons from both sides. Many against the DNR and FWS having control over the wolf population claim hunters are killing for trophies or just to kill something. The confusion they are facing is the difference between hunters/trappers and poachers. Even that aside, who really should determine the fate of the wolves? The government or the people hired specifically to monitor wildlife and natural resources.

 It’s not likely this debate will be ending soon, or in an easy manner.

 DNR reports have shown that in 2014, there were 35 wolf attacks on livestock and dogs, which were up from 20 the previous year. Possible reasons for this include the harsh winters that may have cut down the deer population, the regular meal for the wolves of the U.P.

 It has been estimated that the gray wolf count for the U.P. for 2014 is more than 630 wolves. In 2013, there were 658, and 22 of them harvested with the wolf hunt. There was no hunt in 2014.

The five factors of delisting a species

 Species are taken off the endangered and threatened species list for a variety of reasons, including recovery, extinction, and new evidence of additional populations. Over the years, the FWS has delisted few species, because we have focused our attention and resources on saving more imperiled species.

• Is there a present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species’ habitat or range?
• Is the species subject to overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes?
• Is disease or predation a factor?
• Are there inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms in place outside the ESA (taking into account the efforts by the States and other organizations to protect the species or habitat)?
• Are other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence?

    If delisted due to recovery, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that the FWS, in cooperation with the States, monitor the species for a minimum of 5 years in order to assess each species’ ability to sustain itself without the ESA’s protective measures.

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service