By Matthew Brown, John Flesher, Jim Mone at The Associated Press, Oct. 29
Read the full article here: https://apnews.com/article/election-202 ... d3f63f5b6aBLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Trump administration officials on Thursday stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states and tribes in charge of overseeing the predators.
The U.S. Department of Interior announcement just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election could lead to resumption of wolf hunts in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin -- a crucial battleground in the campaign between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
It’s the latest in a series of administration actions on the environment that appeal to key blocs of rural voters in the race’s final days, including steps to allow more mining in Minnesota and logging in Alaska.
Commentary: (Re-posting from October wolf news post on WolfQuest Discord server) As wolf biologist L. David Mech said in a 2015 interview with the Detroit Free Press, "The more [funding] that's put into wolves, now that they have recovered, that's less that can be spent on species that are truly endangered."
For a long time, wolves in the Great Lakes states (Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota) have not only met minimum recovery requirements but exceeded them. As the International Wolf Center notes in its explainer (https://bit.ly/3mxqBmK):
"In Minnesota, for example, the minimum population of 1,600 was reached many years ago. The Wisconsin target of 350 and the Michigan target of 200 have also been eclipsed. Minnesota hosts an estimated 2,600 wolves. Wisconsin estimates a minimum of 1,100 and Michigan at least 700. The USFWS wolf recovery plan only required at least 100 wolves between Michigan and Wisconsin combined, and 1,250 in Minnesota for at least five consecutive years."
This is NOT a bad thing. While the timing is unfortunate in that it will inevitably be seen as a political act, the truth of the matter is that wolves are indeed recovered and have been for some time. Wolves, previously delisted in 2011 in the states of Montana, Idaho and parts of Utah, Washington and Oregon, have done well under state management. For example, wolves in Idaho doubled their population in almost five years -- from 786 animals in 2015 to 1,541 animals in 2020. I expect little to change for Great Lakes wolves post delisting in Jan. 2021, when the ruling will go into effect.