Can Wisconsin’s wolf recovery move forward into the next stage; coexistence, education and awareness? 

When it comes to wolf recovery in Wisconsin I immediately look towards the leadership of HSUS, because they consistently have worked to protect the imperiled wolf since they were placed on ESA in 1967.  I’ve been working on wolf recovery in Wisconsin since 1998, an apparent reality; is that wolf recovery cannot move forward, because of the constant battle to keep wolves listed has taken and continues to take precedent. Wolves are still in danger from attitudes that remain fixed on old myths that have fueled fear and hatred of wolves. These attitudes remain fixed in place, because politicians drive these misconceptions to fuel their agendas.  My hope is that wolf recovery can move forward into the next stage; coexistence, education and awareness. Non lethal strategies are gaining ground in the fight to protect wolves and livestock. 

Killing to conserve them is a failed approach to wolf management. 

Humane Society of the United States has fought hard to protect wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota & Michigan. The following is a Timeline from HSUS:

December 2014: The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issues an order invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 rule delisting wolves in the western Great Lakes region, requiring that sport hunting and trapping of wolves in the region must end immediately.
December 2014: The annual wolf hunt ends early in Minnesota and Wisconsin, with hunters and trappers exceeding state quotas at record pace. In Minnesota, 272 wolves were killed, 22 more than the stated quota, with 84 percent of late season wolves killed in traps. In Wisconsin, 154 wolves were killed, four more than the quota permitted and 80 percent killed in leghold traps.

They are threatening not just to enable a massive kill of the ecologically and economically beneficial native carnivores, but also to open the floodgates for a host of bills and riders to target other endangered species in the crosshairs of special interests.    From Wayne Pacelle’s blog

February 2013: Wildlife protection groups, including The HSUS, file suit against the USFWS over its decision to remove the protections of the Endangered Species Act from gray wolves living in the western Great Lakes region.

June 2013: USFWS publishes its proposal to delist the gray wolf from the federal Endangered Species Act throughout the Lower 48 states where wolves are not already delisted.

April 2012 – July 2012: Wisconsin enacts legislation mandating a wolf hunting and trapping season, requiring that the state wildlife agency authorize the use of packs of dogs, night hunting, and snare and leg-hold traps. The state wildlife agency adopts regulations for the hunting and trapping of wolves in 2012-2013 via emergency rules, and sets the quota at 201 wolves.

“Lawmakers, quick to cater to the vocal minority that wants to hunt and trap wolves, are ignoring the best available science, which reveals that these apex carnivores occupy just a fraction of their original range …” From Wayne Pacelle’s blog

December 2011: The USFWS issues a final rule delisting the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes.
April 2009: The USFWS issues a final rule delisting the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes and northern Rockies, except for those in Wyoming.
September 2008: In response to litigation filed by The HSUS and other organizations, a federal court overturns the USFWS’ decision to delist wolves in the western Great Lakes, thereby reinstating federal protections for gray wolves in the region.
2005 – 2006: The USFWS tries to strip wolves of protection by issuing special exemption permits to the state of Wisconsin that authorize state officials to kill dozens of wolves. These permits are thrown out by a federal court in response to a lawsuit by The HSUS.
2005: Two federal courts both rule that the 2003 downlisting was arbitrary and capricious, returning the wolf to endangered status.
2003: The USFWS issues a final rule downgrading most of the gray wolves living in the lower 48 states from endangered to threatened, making it easier for people to lethally take wolves.

Wisconsin’s wolf recovery began in the late 1970s.

1978: Gray wolves are listed at the species level under the Endangered Species Act as endangered throughout the coterminous United States and Mexico, except in Minnesota, where gray wolves were listed as threatened.
1974: Various subspecies of wolves are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
1967: Wolves are listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the precursor to the Endangered Species Act. Source

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