Feds Removing Some Protections For Gray Wolves
The federal government is officially “delisting” the Gray Wolf from protections of the Endangered Species Act today. The move was announced last week in anticipation of today’s action. The Trump administration says it is taking the controversial step with the support of many conservation organizations throughout the country. This primarily affects Gray Wolf populations in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The Mexican Wolf remains listed on the ESA. There are about 6,000 Gray Wolves now in the lower 48 states. Best estimated put around 700 here in Michigan, all in the Upper Peninsula along with a couple of dozen on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. The delisting is being hailed by many sportsman’s groups while some conservationists are upset. Many conservation-minded people around the country want to see the range of the gray wolf expanded further than it is today. They know that probably won’t happen without continued federal protection. But state natural resources divisions along with tribal wildlife managers have been directly involved with the management of the wolf, and that won’t stop. It may actually increase their management activities and possibly some new state or tribal mandated protections.
It might also lead to hunting seasons to allow hunting enthusiasts to legally harvest wolves. Amy Trotter is the Executive Director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. The MUCC is a coalition of dozens of outdoor recreation and sport conservation groups throughout Michigan. Trotter tells WBCK that conversations with Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers will include hunting options. But that’s not anticipated to take shape right away. The MUCC is issuing a public release about its support for delisting the gray wolf. Trotter says the wolf has made a solid recovery and it’s time for federal wildlife managers to turn toward species that need more support than the wolves.
The federal delisting action today puts a 60-day time frame into effect where those in opposition may weigh in on the action to attempt to stall or reverse the call. If federal managers stick with their decision, the delisting will go into effect on January 4th next year.