HFW Petitions MN US Senators and Representatives to support threatened status for Great Lakes wolves

On January 23, 2015 Howling For Wolves sent a petition to all MN US Senators and Representatives to support threatened status for Great Lakes wolves and asking to oppose bills attempting to exempt wolves  from Endangered Species Act or other bills with similar goals.

The petition addressed to:
Senate: Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.
House: Tim Waltz, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Tom Emmer, Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan.

The petition states:

Dear (Senator or Representative),

Howling For Wolves is a Minnesota-based wolf advocacy organization formed in 2012 for the purpose of educating the public and policymakers about the Minnesota gray wolf and the benefits of a viable wolf population upon the forest ecosystem, to foster understanding and tolerance, and to ensure the long-term survival of wolves. Minnesota currently has the largest and only original wolf population remaining in the lower 48 states; the wolf is a critical part of our ecosystem and the long-term survival of the species in Minnesota is critical to the survival of the species as a whole and is our primary objective. 

The federal courts, as of Friday, December 19, 2014, placed the gray wolf in the Great Lakes region back on the endangered species list. They’re now considered a threatened species in Minnesota. Farmers can still use lethal methods to protect their livestock with the wolf as threatened (and not listed as “endangered”).

We are pleased with the court decision. With federal protection, the reckless and unpopular wolf hunting and trapping season in Minnesota (and Wisconsin and Michigan) is stopped. In Minnesota alone, the population dropped 25 percent within the first year of coming off the list to the lowest levels since 1988. Now our Minnesota wolf population (which is the “source” population for the entire lower 48 states) is about 2400 wolves (before the most recent wolf hunting season) and has just four wolves per pack on average. In total over 1600 wolves have been killed or found dead in the three years the hunt has occurred in Minnesota. We have no doubts that federal protection for wolves is necessary.

The wolf hunt began in Minnesota in 2012 due to political pressure, not smart management strategies. When the wolf was delisted in 2012, the Minnesota legislature moved too quickly into a recreational wolf hunt, without full implementation of the Minnesota DNR’s 2001 Wolf Management Plan (which we believe to be a smart and science-based roadmap), and abandoned a five year “wait and see” moratorium on wolf hunting. 

Howling For Wolves supports a better-informed, proven management plan to support the gray wolf population into the future and plan for smart living with wolves. Let’s put science-based and smart management policies ahead of politics. Unlike deer and other small game hunted in Minnesota, wolves develop highly-structured packs. This presents a unique challenge to managing the population because taking out one wolf often upsets the social hierarchy of the entire pack and creates problems.

Non-lethal methods should be supported. Last month Washington State University published its findings after reviewing over 25 years of wolf management data. The scientific study found that wolf killing, even for livestock conflicts, actually made matters worse. By disrupting the wolves’ packs through killing at random, the surviving members behave less predictably, increasing their range and the frequency of encounters with livestock. During the previous 40 years of federal protections in Minnesota, non-lethal methods to prevent conflicts between wolves and livestock were not adequately supported. Livestock producers were given more support for killing wolves than for avoiding killing wolves.

We know that Minnesotans see the value to having wolves and want them protected for future generations. In a 2013 Lake Research Poll, 80% of Minnesotans agreed that the wolf is an asset to protect for future generations.  It is in all of our shared interest to work together on a path forward before it’s too late for Minnesota’s (and America’s) gray wolf.

Howling For Wolves will be working to:
1. obtain support and incentives for using non-lethal methods for preventing wolf conflicts;
2. receive better wolf data including more information about illegal wolf killing; and
3. eliminate the cruel hunting methods of trapping and snaring.

We hope our leaders at the state Capitol in Minnesota, as well as in Washington, D.C., seek to make sure wolves will be part of our legacy in Minnesota and ensure a future for the wolf.

Please contact me with questions or additional information at hackett@howlingforwolves.org or 612-250-5915, or through our www.HowlingForWolves.com website.

Dr. Maureen Hackett, MD
President and Founder, Howling For Wolves

P.S. More information about our organization can be found at www.HowlingForWolves.org, or on our Facebook page (“liked” by 60,640 people at https://www.facebook.com/HowlingForWolves) or on Twitter at @Howling4Wolves.

January 26, 2015