Endangered Species List

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News is just coming to light about a momentous wildlife management event from last December. It involves a little black-footed ferret named Elizabeth Ann, who along with a horse named Kurt, inspired this week’s Wildlife Matters.

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The National Resources board set a wolf harvest quota of 200 wolves for a hunt expected to happen this month.

That number is based on the recommendations of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The agency said it considered several factors in coming up with that number.

They include the most recent population estimates, the public response to earlier harvests, the current management plan, and other research.

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The gray wolf has been on and off the federal endangered species list for years. Right now, it’s off the list. But designation on the endangered species list can be politized, and politics have shifted. The Masked Biologist has more about what’s happening with this year’s wolf hunt.

Last week was a crazy week. There was a lot going on, and everything felt rushed. In Washington DC, President Trump rushed to finish some things before he left office, and the same day, President Biden rushed to undo many of the things that his predecessor had done, or left undone.

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Gray wolves are no longer federally protected in Wisconsin or anywhere else in the continental U.S. expect for a small subspecies in the southwest.

Several wildlife biologists in Wisconsin WXPR talked to over the last few months agree that the species has recovered, at least in the Great Lakes Region.

According to the Wisconsin DNR’s latest wolf count, there’s an estimated 1,100 wolves roaming the state.

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As the year comes to a close, the Masked Biologist takes a few minutes to ponder the fate of endangered species around the globe and closer to home.

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Each year monarch butterflies float through Northern Wisconsin on their way to Canada or Mexico, but the number of migrating monarchs is shrinking as the butterfly’s habitat gradually disappears.

The population of monarch butterflies has gone down so much that the insect now meets all the criteria to be listed as a threatened and endangered species.

However, so many animals meet those criteria, that the monarch butterfly didn’t make the official list.

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Last week's announcement by the Trump administration to end federal endangered species protections for gray wolves was met with resistance from some Minnesota leaders and conservation groups. One of those groups said the fight isn't over.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the animal's population has rebounded to the point that it no longer needs federal protections in the lower 48 states. When the move becomes final, those states will have control over management plans.

Wisconsin DNR

Driving west out of Merrill on Highway 64 you’ll notice large breaks in the forest give way to farmlands.

Every couple of miles you come across big barns with tall silos. Cows and horses graze in large pens right along the highway.

One of those farms belongs to Ryan Klussendorf.

“I was born and raised on a dairy farm," said Klussendorf.