…A new bill that ties the hands of local law enforcement from assisting federal authorities in any investigation into the illegal killing of Wisconsin’s wild wolf. Wolves are a federally protected endangered species.
According to Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report (April 2016 through April 2017) vehicle collisions (39%) and illegal kills (20%) were the leading causes of death for detected mortalities.
Just when you think wolf education & awareness should take precedent, here comes more political rhetoric.
This time it’s in the form of a bill, 2017 Assembly Bill 712, and companion bill SB 602 which would make it illegal for law enforcement to enforce state or federal law relating to management of wolves in Wisconsin. Fringe politicians claim this bill is necessary as wolves are taking over northern Wisconsin. Rep. Adam Jarchow claims wolves are decimating deer and livestock and must be managed (Jarchow’s way of wolf management is a trophy hunt). Wisconsin is also the only state that sanctions wolf-Hounding. Either way it’s obvious that this legislation is not guided by or based on good sense.
This is how Wisconsin manages an endangered species just off the endangered species list.
Let’s remember that when a politician wants something they’re not above using smoke and mirrors tactics to spin the facts in their favor. In this case, they claim wolves are eating all the deer and killing livestock at an unprecedented rate. Here’s the truth; wolves in a given year have taken 6% of the White-tailed deer population.
“The leading causes of deer mortality in the state, as Wisconsin wildlife managers have long said, are human hunters and severe winters. A 2009 DNR document ranked the deer kill in Wisconsin’s northern and central forest regions this way: 122,000 deer killed by hunters (bow and gun), about 50,000 due to winter stress (the range could vary widely), 33,000 to black bears, 16,000 to coyotes, 13,000 to motor vehicles, 13,000 to wolves and 6,000 to bobcats.” (Source)
This new bill is a rather lame attempt by a few politicians, that think the public is easily led astray by smoke and mirrors political tricks. Let’s check the facts on wolf depredations from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website:
“Thirty-seven incidents of wolf depredation to livestock and 11 incidents of wolf threat to livestock were confirmed on 31 different farms during the monitoring period (Table 6). This included 8 of 34 farms classified as chronic wolf depredation farms (24%). Livestock depredations included 33 cattle killed and 6 injured, 27 sheep killed, and 2 miniature donkeys killed and 1 injured. The number of farms affected decreased slightly from 2015-16 when 34 farms were affected (Figure 7). The number of incidents decreased 29% from 2015-16 when 52 incidents of depredation to livestock were confirmed.” WI DNR Wolf Monitoring Reports 2016-2017 Winter
“This is a far-reaching bill, this is a ploy to get their way, this is a way to drum up more publicity for their cause and they’re not telling the truth,” Tilseth said. “They’re not giving real facts.” Wisconsin Public Radio Interview November 12, 2017
If anything remember how much time, tax dollars and efforts have been put into forty years of wolf recovery in Wisconsin. We should appreciate the role wolves play on balancing Wisconsin’s ecosystems.
Politicians are not qualified to dictate wolf management policy.
Another aspect of this misguided legislation targets wolf monitoring programs. One program developed by retired wolf biologist Adrian Wydeven will be on the chopping block if this legislation is passed.
“The volunteer tracker program has been in place since 1995 and coordinates up to 150 trackers each year.” Source
“The WDNR has trained, guided, and used data from volunteer carnivore trackers. Interruption of this program would reduce citizen science opportunities in Wisconsin, and eliminate a source of wolf population data for the WDNR. Though the program was started in 1995, it took several years after establishment for trackers to gain the expertise to assure and maximize data quality. Disruption of this program may require several years for re-establishment and reduce support from volunteers.” From: Wisconsin’s Greenfire, Wolf Management Restrictions
I joined the Wisconsin’s DNR volunteer winter wolf monitoring program in the year 2000. I’ve contributed my time and money as a citizen helping to gather wolf population data for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. If this bill passes winter track surveys or work with citizen scientists on data collection could no longer be coordinated with DNR staff. Listen HERE to my thoughts on this topic in a recent radio interview.
Please take action to protect Wisconsin’s wild wolf from legislation not guided by or based on good sense.
Contact the following politicians:
Rep. Mary Felzkowski: Rep.Felzkowski@legis.wisconsin.gov, 608-266-7694
Rep. Romaine Quinn: Rep.Quinn@legis.wisconsin.gov, 608-282-3675
Rep. Adam Jarchow: Rep.Jarchow@legis.wisconsin.gov 608-267-2365
Sen. Tom Tiffany: Sen.Tiffany@legis.wi.gov, 608-266-2509
Contact your Wisconsin state representatives CLICK HERE