April 4, 2009

Groups call gray wolf delisting premature

The Humane Society of the United States says it will challenge a federal decision to remove the gray wolf from protections of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday that the Humane Society and other groups say it is premature to strip the wolves of federal protections. They say the wolf population has only returned to parts of the Great Lakes states.

Critics of the planned delisting say the states need to produce sound management plans before the wolf protections are removed.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said last month that his agency was following a decision by the Bush administration to remove the wolf from the Endangered Species list in the western Great Lakes, including Wisconsin, and portions of the northern Rocky Mountains.

The newspaper reported that there are about 4,000 wolves in the Upper Midwest in portions of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Between March 2007 and September, the gray wolf was delisted in the Upper Midwest, allowing authorities to issue permits to landowners to kill wolves that attack livestock or pets.

The delisting was vacated by court order in September but reinstated this week, the newspaper noted.