Reader’s view: Courts did the right thing for wolf management

Reader’s response to a Duluth News opinion piece by two Wisconsin senators Wisconsinites’ view from D.C.: Wolf policy should recognize people By U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble on Feb 3, 2016 at 12:10 a.m.

Source: Duluth News a Tribune
By E. August Allen from Milford, Conn. Today at 12:10 a.m.

This is in response to the Feb. 3 column from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, both of Wisconsin and both of whom have led congressional efforts to legislatively delist wolves (“Wolf policy should recognize people”).
Sen. Johnson’s bill served as the Senate companion to the House bill introduced by Congressman Ribble earlier last year to “allow the Great Lakes states to continue the effective work they are doing in managing wolf populations without undermining the Endangered Species Act.” Yet the horrific slaughter of wolves directly after delisting in Wisconsin was an abomination. One would indeed call it “effective work” if the goal was to extirpate the wolves.
In Wisconsin, the population of wolves was just 800 in 2011. In a matter of three years (since delisting), Wisconsin lost at least 518 wolves to legalized hunting, hounding, trapping and annual unenforced quota overkills. The 518 wolves killed did not include wolves killed at the request of livestock operators for “depredation control” (which was 170 wolves), wolves killed on roadways yearly (25), or wolves killed illegally (estimated conservatively at 100 a year). Factor in annual wolf pup mortality at up to 75 percent, and this has been a disaster of catastrophic proportions. Hardly a wolf management plan integrating the “best available science.” This moral bankruptcy and ineptness is not a way to treat a species recently removed from the Endangered Species Act.
History has demonstrated, time and again, that societal values ultimately determine the survival of a species as controversial as the wolf. The “management” of this species evokes a wide range of public attitudes, polarized views and prolonged contention — a prolonged contention that usually is followed by this sort of mismanagement. There is a reason the courts returned protections to Wisconsin’s wolves, and I believe that reason is quite obvious.
E. August Allen
Milford, Conn.

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