This from the United States Sportsmen’s Association By Bill Horn, Director of Federal Affairs
For more than five years, the USSA has been fighting to remove the recovered wolf population in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from the federal endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tried to “delist” these wolves in 2007 but was stymied by a federal judge in Washington, DC in 2008-09.
Last year we kept up the pressure by filing a new petition to delist the wolves. The Service responded that it would grant the petition and declare the wolves recovered. We expected formal action this spring.
Last week the Service announced its plans with a classic “give with one hand and take with the other” ploy. The agency did declare gray wolves (Canis lupus) in the three states “recovered” and that a proposed delisting rule would be out shortly. But they also declared the “discovery” of an entirely new wolf species – the Eastern gray wolf (Canis lycaon). However the problem is, no one knows the population numbers or range of this new species, if it’s distinguishable from Canis lupus, or if delisting lupus (and returning management to the states) will impact lycaon.
I don’t believe that the Service can delist lupus and allow for control and management – and have this action stand up in court – if there is any chance it could adversely impact this unknown new species. Unfortunately, it will take the Service years to complete a “status review” of lycaon and be able to legally determine that delisting of lupus will not harm the new “species.” In the meantime, return of Canis lupus management to the states will be stalled.
Consultations with wolf experts persuades us that the convenient discovery of this new “species” is scientifically bogus. Finding this new species of wolves is like declaring that different races of humans are different species. We’re all Homo sapiens and the wolves in the Great Lakes (and adjacent Canada) are Canis lupus.
We intend to watch the Service like a hawk, work with the three states, work with wolf experts, and work with our partners – the WI Bear Hunters Association and WI Chapters of SCI a – to make the case for a simple delisting of Canis lupus in the Western Great Lakes. If the Service plays games and stalls the delisting (or renders delisting ineffective), we’ll be forced to drag them into court to stop this nonsense.