WORT Radio’ Access Hour Presents: An Informative Discussion About the Future of Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Recovery

April 4, 2022, at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour .

I’m Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin inviting you to join myself and Manish Bhatt for anther informative discussion regarding Wisconsin’s wild wolf. We will be discussing the Wisconsin Conservation Congress’s (WCC) online voting taking place at the spring hearings, the Wisconsin DNR’s Wolf Management Plan, and the Maiingan Relationship Plan. Join the informative discussion with guests Adrian Wydeven; who led the Wisconsin DNR Wolf Recovery Program from 1990 through 2013, Peter David; a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Marvin Defoe; a contributing author of the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, on Monday April 4, 2022, at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour .

Citizens will be able to provide input on Wisconsin’s natural resource issues through the 2022 Spring Hearings which will again be online beginning April 11, 2022 (starting at 7:00 pm) and remain open through 7:00 pm on April 14, 2022. Information on the questions being asked, how to participate, and how citizens can introduce a resolution will be posted here as it becomes available. Click Here for more information.

The DNR assembled the Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC) , a diverse group of stakeholders and Tribal representatives to meet four times between July and October 2021. The DNR tasked this group with providing input for the latest installment of the Wolf Management Plan. Furthermore, how will treaty rights be honored and we will explore the tribe’s Maiingan (Wolf) Relationship Plan.

Photograph credit NPS

Join the discussion about the latest news on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources latest update to the wolf management plan, with special guest Adrian Wydeven and Peter David, on Monday April 4, 2022, at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour .

SPECIAL GUESTS 

Adrian grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). Photograph courtesy of Adrian Wydeven.

Special Guest Adrian Wydeven grew up in northeast Wisconsin, and has a BS in biology and wildlife management from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1976), and an MS in wildlife ecology from Iowa State University (1979). His master’s research was on the ecology and food habitat of elk in the Wind Cave National Park, SD. He worked as a wildlife manager in Missouri and Wisconsin from 1980-1990. Adrian headed up the state gray wolf recovery and conservation program for Wisconsin from 1990 through 2013, while also working with other rare mammals and wildlife. He retired from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2015 after nearly 33 years. Adrian continues to be actively involved in wolf surveys and conservation through the Timber Wolf Alliance and Wisconsin Green Fire.

Peter David assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights.

Special guest Peter David is a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he assists GLIFWC’s member tribes in the implementation of their off-reservation, treaty-reserved rights. He received his education (bachelors and masters in Wildlife Ecology) from UW-Madison, and from the tribal elders and members for whom he has worked for the last 35 years. At the Commission, he has had the opportunity to steward resources as varied as wild rice and wolves.

Special guest Marvin DeFoe a contributing author of the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He is an educator, teacher, birch bark canoe builder, and Red Cliff elder. He grew up in the Red Cliff community and is part of the sturgeon clan. Named Shingway Banase in Anishinaabe, he is passionate about maintenance and revitalization of the Ojibwe language. Marvin is past Vice Chair on the tribal council and has been the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for four years.

Marvin DeFoe is a contributing author of the Ma’iingan Relationship Plan and member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

HOSTS

Manish N. Bhatt is a writer for the Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. In addition, he is an educator, attorney, military veteran and startup advisor. Having grown up in a rural community in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Manish enjoys hiking, fishing, sailing, skiing and observing nature with his family. Manish has also lived in Texas and Wyoming. He holds a B.A. magna cum laude from the George Washington University, a J.D. magna cum laude from St. Thomas University School of Law, and a LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. Manish is a committed environmentalist and is dedicated to following the science.

Producer & Host Rachel Tilseth is a freelance writer, fine artist, educator, and environmentalist. Tilseth has been a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker since the year 2000. Tilseth worked with the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program as a volunteer since 1998, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves. Tilseth worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. Rachel is founder and owner of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. Tilseth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors.

Brief backstory

Fringe hunters set their sights on Wisconsin’s gray wolf fresh off the Endangered Species List…

News on Wisconsin’s wild gray wolf has captured headlines worldwide ever since the Trump Administration delisted them on January 4, 2021. Gray wolves were barely off the Endangered Species list (ESL) when the battle to hunt them began. Hunter Nation, a conservative advocacy group, sued to get a wolf hunt. Under a court order, the Department of Natural Resources was forced to launch a one-week wolf hunt.

Controversial February 2021 wolf hunt…

The department reported that hunters and trappers had killed 52 wolves on the second day, falling nearly 44% of the 119-animal statewide quota. Another 81 wolves are allocated to Ojibwe tribes, for a total of 200 this year. Wolf hunters told other hunters not to register animals right away so that the hunt would stay open. In the end, the wolf hunters not only took their allotted quota but took the tribe’s quota. Hunter Nation, a conservation advocacy group, had won the right to kill an endangered species fresh off the ESL.

The hunt was Controversial for several reasons. In February, opening a wolf hunt disrupted the gray wolf’s breeding season, potentially killing pregnant females and using dogs to hunt wolves. More than anything, this forced wolf hunt proved no one was listening to the scientific community. Or the Ojibwe tribes for that matter.

NRB Politics Threaten Wolf Recovery

What happened next demonstrated just how far some of the NRB board members are willing go to get their way going even against public outcry. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board (NRB) began discussions on how many wolves to kill in the hunt set for November 2021. At an NRB meeting, chair Prehn and four other board members went against the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) scientific recommendations of a wolf quota of 130 and voted to up it to 300. They also noted that the DNR must get the NRB if they change the 300 quota number. That move put conservatives in the majority to control wolf hunting in November 2021, soon after this latest fiasco by the NRB, the Tribes began to weigh their response to the wolf quota.

Art by Mark Anthony Jacobson Gray Wolf

Ojibwe Tribes response…

Ojibwe bands began evaluating their options Responded with a wolf declaration. “For tribes, the best use of wolves comes in live animals on the land, helping to enhance and maintain healthy ecosystems”, stated in a press release. Further stating in the press release on August 13, 2021, with Ojibwe leaders responding.

“The DNR Natural Resources Board made clear that its decision to set the wolf quota at 300 has nothing to do with science or stewardship,” said Michael Isham, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission executive administrator. “This reckless approach to ma’iingan management is why tribes have filed a brief in support of lawsuits that seek the restoration of federal protection for wolves.”

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission is an intertribal agency comprised of eleven Ojibwe bands in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Minnesota. GLIFWC works with member bands to manage and preserve off-reservation treaty reserved resources. The Voigt Intertribal Task Force develops policy recommendations for GLIFWC-member tribes in the 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories. Ma’iingan is the Ojibwe Anishinaabe word for wolf. Please visit www.glifwc.org for more information.

On September 21, 2021, Six Ojibwe tribes challenged the planned November hunt. Six tribes filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Wisconsin against the state for its planned November wolf hunt, claiming the proposed hunt violates the tribes’ treaty rights. Wisconsin’s Natural Resource Board approved a quota of 300 wolves for the upcoming November hunt, more than double the quota of 130 proposed by the Department of Natural Resources. Experts also consider this recommendation too high and not supported by scientific data and analysis.

In the meantime, wildlife advocates had also filed a lawsuit to stop the November wolf hunt, and a judge granted their injunction. A Dane County Circuit Court judge temporarily put a halt to the wolf hunt planned to begin November 6, ordering on Friday that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) set a quota of zero wolves for all regions of the state.

A Temporary Reprieve…

February 2022, wolves were returned to the ESL in Wisconsin by a California judge. The DNR is attempting to update the wolf management plan. Trying is the right word because recently, the results of the committee findings were released showing how far apart the committee is in regards to wolf management.

After years of false starts, WDNR finally moves on developing an updated wolf management plan .

After the disastrous February wolf hunt, the DNR began writing a new management plan for wolves. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s investigative writer Manish Bhat wrote about the latest attempts to update the plan. “Admittedly, I am new to Wisconsin’s wolf management plan process, so to write this, I set out to do in-depth research and reporting. After over twenty-four hours of watching the Wolf Management Plan Committee (WMPC) meetings, more than ten hours of reading the past plan, its update and articles, and several more hours discussing the future of wolves in Wisconsin, I certainly expected to have a clear sense of what will happen next. The truth is, I learned a lot and realized how little I could predict…The DNR, the facilitator, and the members of the WMPC spent many hours debating and engaging in critically important questions of wolf sustainability and ecological health. Given the goal was to provide input to the DNR, I believe the agency is the recipient of diverse views that represent many of the constituencies in the state. How the DNR uses this input will be something that we continue to cover here.” Manish Bhatt

Join the discussion about the latest news on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources latest update to the wolf management plan, with special guest Adrian Wydeven and Peter David, on Monday April 4, 2022, at 07:00 PM on WORT Radio’ Access Hour .

One thought on “WORT Radio’ Access Hour Presents: An Informative Discussion About the Future of Wisconsin’s Gray Wolf Recovery”

  1. Rachael, I’m hearing on NPR that Senator Ron Johnson AND Senator Tammy Baldwin are trying to get the Grey Wolf back off of the Endangered Species List!

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