Minnesota Wants Gray Wolf Delisted

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has filed the petition with the U.S. Department of the Interior arguing that the gray wolf should be immediately removed from the federal government’s endangered and threatened species list and returned to state management.

The Minnesota DNR, in a petition filed today, asked the government to make its decision within the next 90 days. The petition is a procedural step between state and federal natural resource conservation agencies.

The DNR’s media release about the petition is HERE.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is responsible for federally protected species, has tried to delist the wolf in Minnesota and the western Great Lakes Region on two occasions. In both cases the decision was reversed due to legal challenges.

Most recently, the gray wolf was returned to the endangered and threatened species list last June as part of an agreement with environmental and animal protection organizations.

“We filed the petition because it is time to have the federal classification match the Minnesota reality,” DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten said. “Federal officials agree that the Minnesota gray wolf population is not threatened or endangered. They agree our wolf management plan ensures the long-term survival of the wolf. They have seen it in action during 2007 and 2008, when the wolves in the Great Lakes Region were delisted.”

In its petition, the DNR asked the USFWS to delist the species based on a 1978 federal classification that stated the gray wolf in Minnesota was a separate species from other wolf populations in the lower 48 states.

The gray wolf has recolonized portions of Wisconsin and Michigan, resulting in a regional population of about 4,000 animals. The species achieved recovery levels in Minnesota as early as 1989, and is estimated at approximately 3,000 animals today, roughly twice the number required by the federal Eastern Timber Wolf Recovery Plan, according to the DNR.

“Today, with a fully recovered Minnesota gray wolf population, we are asking the federal government to delist the animal to ensure that scarce resources for federally endangered and threatened species can be directed to those species that truly need protection,” Holsten added in the media release.

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