MN Wolf Hunt Signed into Law for this Fall 2012

We are all deeply disappointed by the MN wolf hunt signed into law yesterday to start this fall 2012. We knew this would be nearly impossible to stop because of the misinformation and long-standing societal conceptions about the wolf.  We at Howling for Wolves, have learned a tremendous amount from this campaign to stop the wolf hunt this year and to reinstate the five year moratorium on a wolf hunting season.  What most of us did not know going into this is how much deeper and more complicated the wolf issue truly is.  While we played catch up to stop the hunt we learned with the help of many motivated people some answers to the following question: for what reason was the wolf removed by government policy from the US starting in the late 1800's and until they were placed on the endangered species list?  The wolf was eliminated, extirpated, from the lower 48 states except for MN.  Why?

This next part will have to come more slowly and carefully.  For now we will say this.  There are industries that want access to wilderness resources. That access is limited by wilderness.  The term wilderness has now been tested and prevailed in court with the unsuccessful federal court challenge to the Roadless Wilderness Rule.   The wolf is a literal obstacle, likely even in the way of roads, especially if it is listed as an endangered species.  Thus, in the Northern Rockies, the wolf has been exempted from the endangered species list; never to receive this federal protection again.  We in MN have lots of public land which is why we have wolves.  Our expansive wilderness on public lands has resources coveted by entities who gain from the exploitation of the land.  The wolf also provides an opportunity to rally around a symbolic foe and get at that land.  But this is to be continued...

Yesterday, while Governor Dayton was signing the Game and Fish bill, we at Howling for Wolves met with two Kenyan wildlife experts from the African Wildlife Foundation,  who were stunned at our "low" number of 3000 wolves here in MN.  Their immediate response was; 3000 individuals in a population of a species, is about the viable population number.  That taking that number much lower could cause extinction. They gave many reasons for why we are taking an unnecessary risk to our entire wolf population with a hunting season.  The Kenyans value the predator and understand the tremendous value the top predator is to all wildlife and habitat.  They understand the difficulty that predator species face just to maintain a viable population.  Predator numbers do not need to be purposely reduced by man, as they are reduced from many human-related causes.  Of course, in the cases of farmer depredation, the Kenyans also deal with this issue with their lion. Their dwindling lion population is significantly worsened by the reactions to real and mis-identified lion-livestock conflicts.  Like the wolf, the lion population is now under increasing and extreme pressure due to vilification and misunderstandings.

Kenya directed its tourism toward wildlife in 1977 and stopped all hunting.  Maybe we can benefit from looking to other cultures and see what has provided a win-win solution for the people and the wilderness and wildlife.  We will now put our energies toward affecting decisions about next year's hunt in the MN DNR's public comment period. We have gathered momentum and we are prepared to go forward to immediately affect the provisions of the upcoming wolf hunting and trapping season. Join us.