In a 19-15 vote, the House Natural Resources Committee today passed the Manage Our Wolves Acts to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections currently placed gray wolves throughout the contiguous lower 48 states. It will await approval in the House. If successful there, it’ll move on to the Senate and then await signage by President Trump.
“Wisconsin deserves the opportunity to use science-based wildlife management for our own gray wolf population, because we know what’s better for our state’s ecosystem better than activist judges in Washington,” said Congressman Duffy. “I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to delist the gray wolf because Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock, and they should not suffer because of the decisions made by an overreaching federal government a thousand miles away.”
The bill boasts two key sections: Section II of the bill calls for full removal of federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes, while Section III fully removes the species in question from the Endangered and Threatened Wildlife lists in the continental U.S. Any attempt to delist these gray wolves will be exempt from judicial review, as well, meaning federal judges like the one in Montana who put a halt
Per the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, gray wolf population has rebounded from extinction “by as much as 300 percent”, with their population “estimated to be 5,691 gray wolves in the contiguous United States.” They have concluded that wolf numbers are “robust”, “stable,” and “self-sustaining.”
Cameron Mulrony, executive vice president of the Idaho Cattle Association, wrote an op-ed in the Idaho Statesman endorsing the delisting of gray wolves. Why? It adversely affects ranchers and business owners:
Wolf depredation is soaring to levels never seen before across the entire state of Idaho. Seasoned reporters in Idaho know Wildlife Services is the ranchers’ first line of defense when a wolf kill occurs. These trained professionals respond to livestock kills in a timely manner to skin the animals and determine the cause of death. This has been going on in Idaho since 1995…When wolves steal our livestock, they harm our bottom line. It’s true that ranchers can get partial compensation for a confirmed wolf kill, from the Governor’s Office of Species Conservation. However, you never recoup the total opportunity cost of an animal. Then there are a host of other ancillary issues that wolves are causing to cattle herds in Idaho that were unanticipated and unexpected.
Wolves are more than fully recovered in Idaho. You have seen wolves spread into Washington and Oregon, and they are killing livestock there, too. California, Utah and Colorado will be next. We will be living with wolves forever. Therefore, we need proper management to keep Idaho ranchers in business.
Prior to this action, the management of gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region was transferred from state to federal level after two 2014 U.S. District Court rulings that reinstated unnecessary ESA protections back onto them.
Conservation and hunting groups have argued for wolves to be managed like elk, deer, turkeys, and other wild game under the auspices of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
It’s important to listen to actual stakeholders, like the ranchers, wildlife biologists, and business owners who are adversely affected by the growing population of gray wolves—not the preservationists interrupting wildlife management efforts.