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Groups File Lawsuit to Re-List Gray Wolves, Tiffany Introduces Bill to Permanently De-List Species

Isle Royale National Park

Two coalitions of advocacy groups are suing to get gray wolves put back on the federal Endangered Species List. The wildlife advocates filed lawsuits Thursday in U.S. District Court in Northern California.

The Trump administration announced in October that wolves were considered recovered from near extinction across most of the U.S. The change went into effect earlier this month.

Critics of the move say continued protections are needed so fledgling wolf populations in Colorado and on the West Coast can continue to expand.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said gray wolves have exceeded goals for recovery.

In response to the wildlife advocates filing the lawsuit in Federal Court, Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) and five other U.S. Congressmen have introduced a bill to permanently remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list and give management back to the states.

“It’s time to end the era of urban judges and paper-pushers a thousand miles away in Washington, DC micromanaging Wisconsin wildlife policies,” said Tiffany. “Wolf attacks on pets and livestock have become commonplace and harmed the hunting industry in recent years – enough is enough.”

In Wisconsin, biologists WXPR has spoken with have said wolves have recovered. Some groups are calling for careful management of the wolf in the state.

The Wisconsin DNR is starting the process to create a new wolf management plan before the wolf hunt this fall.

Tiffany and some state lawmakers are pushing the DNR to hold a wolf hunt this winter.

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Small Business, and Rural Issues and the Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage held a joint informational hearing to discuss the 2021 wolf hunt and why the DNR decided against an adaptive hunting season this winter.

According to state Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk), the DNR provided a written testimony for the hearing but did not attend.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the DNR blew-off this hearing and, in turn, all of the Wisconsinites who tuned in to get their questions answered," said Felzkowski. "The Department had two full months to prepare for a hunt and instead, they sat on their hands. Once again, this authority was not handed back to them so they could sit around and talk about it. Authority was handed back to them so they could act to manage this growing threat and allow Wisconsin’s sportsmen to engage with this emboldened predator.”

By state law, the Wisconsin DNR is required to hold a wolf hunt if the species is not on an endangered species list.

The DNR set a November date for the hunt. It said this was to give the agency time to create a new wolf management plan and set hunting quotas based on science.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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