Friday, October 18, 2013

Fed Drop Wolf Protection, Season Opening, by William Ricioppo

Because of rebounding numbers, gray wolves will be taken off the endangered species list by the US government after being hunted to near-extinction in North America in the 20th Century.

Of 16,672 applications filed in Wisconsin this year, DNR will issue 2,510 wolf hunting permits. Maintaining the 10-to-1 permit-to-quota ratio set in 2012, 251 of the animals are permitted to be killed in 2013. Wolves are authorized to be harvested from six hunting zones within the state.
Dan Ashe, director of Fish and Wildlife, says the resurgence of the wolf population since federal protection was put in place over 30 years ago has led to one of the greatest success stories in conservation history. With exception of several smaller packs in the Southwest to remain under federal protection, the government will begin to allow broader hunting of wolves.

Once numbering in the millions throughout North America, the gray wolf was essentially extinct by 1980. U.S. policy in the 1800s and laws allowing the killing of the wolves to protect property and livestock through modern times decimated their presence. Efforts to revive the species were put in place over 30 years ago, restricting the hunting of the animals in much of the country. Today, the number of gray wolves in the Great Lakes region and the Rocky Mountains is believed to be over 5,000, with similar populations growing in other areas of the country.
Under increasing pressure, the Obama administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife are defending their decision to limit federal protection. As the number of wolves has increased over time conflict with humans has become more common. Ranchers and farmers have reported significant increases in problems with wolves, and they argue the numbers need maintaining.