Wolf management is a disaster

The federal government has made a mess of trying to manage gray wolves. From a botched attempt to delist them from protection under the Endangered Species Act to the debacles at Isle Royale, this has been one screw up after another.
Those hoping for common sense cheered when they read the Republicans who still control the House passed a bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. That bill is dead on arrival in the Senate.
But the passage of the bill in the House shows the frustration in how the Fish and Wildlife Service has been able to beat back repeated court challenges. The feds attempt to delist and return management to the state and the wolf groups fire up their lawyers and get a friendly judge in Washington to stop the delisting.
In Minnesota we’ve got plenty of wolves and instead of hailing what should be a monumental achievement to save a species, we’re left with a bad taste when judges thousands of miles away decide having over 2,600 wolves in Minnesota doesn’t matter.
The wolf protection groups want to see wolves throughout the lower 48, even if the wolves don’t think this is a great idea.
About 5,000 wolves live in the lower 48 states, occupying less than 10 percent of their historic range.
If that wasn’t bad enough, we’ve been watching what’s going on at Isle Royale. Here the wolf population got down to two and there was no reproduction. So the feds decided to bring wolves in to keep the moose population in check. But the best laid plans of mice and men…
Transfering wolves from Minnesota and other areas has been a gong show. One male and three females were successfully moved to the island but then one male died. Actually this was the second wolf to die, the first one died in September after being captured.
Then there is this strange fact.
“Park officials shot six moose and spread some of the meat to give the new arrivals a temporary food supply,” according to the AP.
In Minnesota we’ve got moose dying off left and right with no solution in sight. We’ve got a wolf population that at the least is steady and more likely growing. On Isle Royale they’re killing the moose to feed the wolves which are dying as they’re being brought there.
Only the government could come up with this scenario.
We’ve long advocated for the Minnesota DNR to take an active role in looking to manage the wolf population in the state. Instead the DNR and attorney general’s office have sat on their hands and done nothing.
Nobody likes to talk about the wolves that were trapped and shot earlier this year in areas where dogs were being harvested in backyards south of Ely. But those things happen when your management plans is decided by judges instead of by science.