Conservation Groups Support Wolf-Delisting, Permit Applications in Michigan, Wisconsin 6-10-2010

Michigan United Conservation Clubs – Minnesota Conservation Federation – National Wildlife Federation – Wisconsin Wildlife FederationConservation Groups Support Wolf De-listing, Permit Applications in Michigan, Wisconsin

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (June 10, 2010)-As wolf populations continue to increase in the Upper Great Lakes states, conservation groups are supporting management applications by the states of Michigan and Wisconsin as an important step forward in the effort to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered species.Wolf Close-Up Small Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment and Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources have petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for authority to use lethal methods to control problem wolves.

For generations, the wolf was absent from Great Lakes states. Protections afforded under the Endangered Species Act have allowed wolves to naturally re-colonize the Great Lakes states. There are more than 3,000 wolves in Minnesota, over 700 wolves in Wisconsin, and more than 600 in Michigan – a tremendous wildlife success story.

As long-standing advocates for wolf recovery, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Minnesota Conservation Federation, National Wildlife Federation and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation are now urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to de-list the gray wolf in the Great Lakes region and to support state management of the species-including, if warranted, the lethal means to deal with problem wolves.

“The recovery of the gray wolf in Michigan is a tremendous accomplishment” said Erin McDonough, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “However, wolf numbers have now exceeded many times over the recovery goals set for the state. Michigan’s science-based wolf management plan is already touted as a national model and it’s time for the federal government to step aside and let the state implement this plan and make the most appropriate management decisions for the state.”

Gray wolves roaming within Wisconsin’s borders show that the Endangered Species Act works and that the state can successfully manage its increasing wolf population,” said George Meyer, executive director of Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. “Wisconsin has carried out its responsibilities in the recovery of the gray wolf and has developed a sound long-term management program to assure that the wolf will maintain a sustainable population. It’s time for the Fish and Wildlife Service to support these applications and to turn the management of the gray wolf over to the State of Wisconsin.”

The sustainable recovery of wolves in the Great Lakes region is dependent on a tolerant attitude by people living in wolf country as well as wolf management that addresses the concerns of those people. In a few cases, that means dealing with wolves that can become habituated to humans and can create conflicts, such as predation on livestock. The conservation organizations support lethal measures to control problem wolves as requested in the permit applications.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Minnesota Conservation Federation, National Wildlife Federation and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation have provided input to state agencies so that state wolf management plans will ensure a viable wolf population after federal de-listing. The groups have also helped distribute information to hunters, livestock producers, and private landowners on reducing the potential for conflicts with wolves.

Based on the growing number of wolves in the upper Great Lakes states, the conservation groups have urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the species in the region. In 2009 the federal agency delisted the wolf, but was sued. Wolves in the Great Lakes region are currently on the list of endangered species.

“The return of wolves to Minnesota is a triumph,” said Gary Botzek, executive director of the Minnesota Conservation Federation. “We’re proud of this achievement and now urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist this species. State wildlife managers have the track record and expertise to ensure that the state retains a healthy wolf population now and in the future.”

“The recovery of gray wolves in the Great Lakes region is an incredible wildlife success story,” said Jason Dinsmore, regional representative of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. “State wildlife managers have been instrumental in helping the wolf recover and need to be given authority to make the most effective management decisions. Approval of the states’ applications is essential to maintain widespread public support for wolves in the Upper Great Lakes states – which is vital to their long-term survival. We look forward to maintaining the recovery of the gray wolf in the region and urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to de-list the wolf.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 10, 2010

CONTACT:

Erin McDonough, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, (517) 346-6475

Gary Botzek, Minnesota Conservation Federation, (651) 293-9295

George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, (608) 516-5545

Jason Dinsmore, National Wildlife Federation, (517) 204-8962

Jordan Lubetkin

Senior Regional Communications Manager

National Wildlife Federation

Great Lakes Regional Center

Office: 734-887-7109

Cell: 734-904-1589

www.nwf.org/greatlakes

www.healthylakes.org

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