Citing growing impatience and dissatisfaction by state residents over federal inaction on wolf management, 19 Wisconsin legislators sent a letter to federal officials this week urging quicker action.
The letter, authored by State Senator Jim Holperin (D-Eagle River), who chairs the Senate Natural Resources Committee, and State Representative Ann Hraychuck (D-Balsam Lake), who chairs the Assembly Fish and Wildlife Committee, urges U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to “pursue all options to provide the State of Wisconsin with lethal control means for problem wolves.”
The main way for wolf controls to be accomplished is removing or “delisting” the animal from the list of federal endangered species.
“The history of federal activity on wolf management over the past 10 years is a tangled mess of botched delisting attempts, court challenges and arguments over whether Wisconsin and Minnesota wolves are genetically different from those in other states,” Holperin said.
Hraychuck said the federal Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service is seemingly sincere in seeking to remove wolves from the endangered species list, but needs to know how strongly those in northern Wisconsin feel about the issue. “Our letter makes plain that support for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in Wisconsin is quickly evaporating over this issue alone,” she said.
“Every year more people are feeling disenfranchised by the ineffectiveness of the ESA to allow problems (like depredation) to be solved, and threaten to take matters into their own hands,” the letter reads.
“It is critical that you continue to use all means available to you to delist the wolf in Wisconsin,” Holperin and Hraychuck wrote, because “the inability (to do so) is actually creating new and completely unnecessary social threats to this species.”
The two northern Wisconsin legislators also encouraged others who are concerned about high wolf numbers to send e-mails, letters, petitions or resolutions to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Salazar.
“The ball is clearly in the U.S. Interior Department’s court, and until there’s federal action one way or the other the Wisconsin DNR will continue to lack authority to manage Wisconsin wolves,” they concluded.