Administrators from the natural resource agencies in 13 Midwestern states and three Canadian provinces have signed a joint resolution urging the U.S. Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the gray wolf  from the federal endangered species list.
"Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan all have achieved the primary goal of the Endangered Species Act, and that is sustainable wolf populations," said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank. "It's clear in our minds that now is the time to turn over management of the wolf to the respective state natural resource management agencies."
The resolution was inked at a recent Board of Directors meeting of the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The association represents Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kentucky, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan. All states and provinces signed the resolution, including those with no known gray wolf populations at this time.
With the growth of the wolf population in Wisconsin and Michigan, there have been some problems with wolves killing livestock, pets and hunting dogs. Although owners of livestock and hunting dogs have been compensated for their losses, transferring management of wolves to state natural resource agencies will allow better control of the population and greater protections for livestock and pet owners.
"Overall, support for recovery of the wolf in the Midwest has been strong, but as the population continues to grow states need authority to manage wolves within their borders, including the ability to remove problem wolves, if broad public support for wolves is to continue," Frank said.
In April 2010, Wisconsin submitted a state petition to the Department of the Interior requesting the wolf be removed from the endangered species list in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's petition joined a similar action by Minnesota filed in March 2010. Wisconsin's estimated wolf population at the end of the 2009-2010 winter was more than 700.
"Wisconsin has worked cooperatively with the Department of the Interior on wolf recovery for more than 30 years and has fully supported Interior's recent efforts to delist the gray wolf," said Frank. "We believe, and scientific evidence supports, that delisting and transferring management of the wolf to Wisconsin is timely and will lead to improved management through effective action on problem wolves."
To aid citizens in avoiding wolf depredations, DNR biologists have created a new wolf depredation  alert system that sends an email alert to subscribers with a link to details and a caution area map as soon as a depredation can be verified. The new web-based alert has more than 3,400 subscribers. Among them are hunters who began training hunting dogs on July 1.