Press Release: Wolf riders dropped from federal spending legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2015
CONTACT: Dr. Maureen Hackett, Howling For Wolves, 612.250.5915 or Leslie Rosedahl,, 651.353.1818.

Wolf riders dropped from federal spending legislation; Howling For Wolves comments on victory for wolves
Policy riders included in previous versions would have removed wolves from the Endangered Species List and re-started wolf trophy hunting

(St. Paul, Minn) – Late last night Congressional leaders unveiled a $1.15 trillion federal funding agreement to complete work on their FY2016 budget. Although included in previous funding legislation in the House and Senate, the final Omnibus package does not include a policy “rider” that would have legislatively removed the Great Lakes gray wolf from the federal Endangered Species List. The formerly proposed rider would have reversed the 2014 federal appeals court judge’s decision that placed Great Lakes wolves back under federal protection.

In all states where wolves previously lost federal protections, hunting and trapping were implemented and wolf poaching immediately resumed. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has said they will “pick up where they left off” with a wolf hunting and trapping season if wolves lost federal protections. State officials disregard the damage that wolf-killing has on the population, the pack structure, and the gray wolves' genetic diversity. 

“Today is a victory for wolves and their survival for future generations. I am pleased that Congress recognized that they should not delist wolves and leave the Endangered Species Act out of politics. Congress should support ethical, effective, nonlethal preventative strategies so communities and wolves can coexist,” said Howling For Wolves Founder and President Dr. Maureen Hackett. “Minnesota has the largest and only remaining original wolf population in the lower 48 states that never went extinct, and we want to protect them for future generations – not drive them into extinction with a wolf trophy hunt. Wolves need protection. There are still many threats to wolves including illegal killing that is not controlled when they are not protected and only barely controlled when wolves are federally protected. Wolves were placed on the Endangered Species List forty years ago because this intolerance and persecution drove them to the brink of extinction.”

Currently, Minnesota wolves have federal protection and may not be hunted. They are listed as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act, and may be killed in the defense of human life and by government agents for livestock predation. This change in status happened December 19, 2014 in a federal court decision overturning a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to delist the Great Lakes wolves. Minnesota has had three consecutive wolf hunting and trapping seasons. After the first year following the first wolf hunting and trapping, the wolf population was decreased by 25 percent. In just the past year, the number of wolf packs (families) was decreased by another 25 percent (nearly 100 packs). Currently, the total Minnesota wolf population trends are the lowest since 1988, with a potentially massive decrease in the genetic diversity needed for their future survivability.

“Wolf trophy hunting is reckless, unpopular, and unnecessary. Howling For Wolves, together with the majority of Minnesotans, celebrate wolves living this year without a wolf trophy hunt. We ask state and federal policymakers to continue to support the Endangered Species Act and allow wolves to exist in the wild,” said Hackett.

****Howling For Wolves Founder and President Dr. Maureen Hackett is available for individual media interviews in the coming days to highlight:

  • Details and history surrounding Minnesota’s wolf hunt. (This year, after three consecutive years of a hunt, a wolf hunt was not held due to a federal court ruling placing wolves back on the Endangered Species List). It started on the first day of deer hunting season, which was Saturday, November 7.
  • Past and future legislative and political action taken by the Minnesota-based wolf advocacy organization, Howling For Wolves.
  • Why the gray wolf is vital to Minnesota’s ecology and how the trophy hunt is detrimental to our state because of unpredictable effects.

The organization is urging the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and state and federal policy-makers to:

  • Implement policies that protect wolves including support for nonlethal methods to prevent conflicts with farmers’ livestock.
  • End the cruel and indiscriminate methods of baiting, trapping, and snaring.
  • Suspend the recreational wolf trophy hunt in Minnesota.



Howling For Wolves (HFW) is a wolf advocacy organization that aims to educate the public and policy-makers about wolves to foster understanding and tolerance, and to ensure their long-term survival in Minnesota. HFW seeks innovative non-lethal solutions for conflict prevention and coexistence where wolves are perceived to be a threat. We oppose the random killing of non-problem wolves for trophies and the cruel methods utilized. HFW’s current efforts focus on the Minnesota’s gray wolves, which is the largest and only original wolf population (never went extinct) remaining in the lower 48 states.

December 16, 2015