The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals are filing a suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an attempt to halt wolf hunts in Minnesota and Wisconsin. According to a press release by the Humane Society, the motion came on the first day of the first public wolf hunt in the Great Lakes area in more than 40 years.
Misplaced trust in state agencies
The groups are asserting that the Wildlife Service was wrong to believe state agencies would effectively manage the wolf populations. They want to restore protections for Great Lakes wolves under the Endangered Species Act.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put faith in the state wildlife agencies to responsibly manage wolf populations, but their overzealous and extreme plans to allow for trophy hunting and recreational trapping immediately after delisting demonstrate that such confidence was unwarranted,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO for the Humane Society. “Between Minnesota’s broken promise to wait five years before hunting wolves, and Wisconsin’s reckless plan to trap and shoot hundreds of wolves in the first year, it is painfully clear that federal protection must be reasserted. The states have allowed the most extreme voices to grab hold of wolf management, and the result could be devastating for this species.”
Minnesota currently allows up to 400 of the state’s 3,000 wolves to be hunted and in Wisconsin, hunting is allowed to take about 24 percent of the estimated population. Both groups have filed a 60-day notice of their intent to file and have asked Wisconsin and Minnesota to hold off on their hunting seasons.
Suing the Minnesota DNR
In Minnesota, according to a Star Tribune article, the groups also filed a suit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for violating its own rules. The case asserts that the agency did not allow enough time for public comment. The case is being allowed to move forward, but the judges did not grant an injunction of the hunting season.