U.S. Fish and Wildlife Reopen Public Comments on Wolf
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in May their plan to delist the wolf from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes area. Following the delisting in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming they were proposing to do the same for Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. Public comment on the issue was closed on July 5th. However it has been reopened through September 26th.
States have no management control over the wolves in their own state currently, since they are protected by the feds. The wolves' population has rebounded successfully from near extinction, when they were first given endangered species protection. Conservationists believe that it is too soon to remove that protection though, believing that the states will go overboard with hunting of the wolves and that would once again deplete the wolves.
The federal agency recently received new information on the wolves in the area, that they will have available to the public as soon as possible to help with the delisting plan. There are in fact two subspecies of the wolf found in the Great Lake states: the gray wolf, Canus lupus, and the eastern wolf, Canus lycaon. Several scientists now believe both subspecies inhabit Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, indistinguishable from each other, and that both are doing well here. Canus lycaon has never formally been listed as endangered, and its status will be part of the final rule later this year. The agency is hoping to have the wolves delisted by the end of 2011, and even with the extended public comment time, do not plan on changing that. From Duluth News Tribune.