Gray wolves are no longer endangered species in the Great Lakes region

Give a standing ovation to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a recent decision to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act in the western Great Lakes region, an area encompassing Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and some parts of neighboring states.

In an effort to restore native species some years back, the Service allowed the introduction of wolves to many areas of the country with little thought to the far-reaching effects a long-absent primary wilderness predator in a modern world would bring about.

Problem

In many states where an unchecked number of wolf packs have become nothing short of dangerously destructive to formally healthy herds of other animals such as elk and deer, the food chain is becoming unbalanced and costly.

Do-gooders with political clout and emotional backing continue to herald the growing number of wolves as a really cool thing while wildlife officials with actual scientific management experience are left out in the cold on matters of common sense and predator-prey balance.

The result has been a remarkable growth of wolf numbers, and an equally remarkable reduction of other wildlife species. Of course farmers also lose stock to wolves, just as Ohio farmers loose stock to unchecked coyotes in more populated, semi-rural areas.

It’s always a mess when wildlife management is determined in a courtroom or at the public ballot box instead of by educated wildlife professionals.

Puzzled

For many years, the Fish and Wildlife Service was stymied by an unfounded idea that the wolves in the Great Lakes region were of two separate but similar sub-species causing concern that any sort of management of the increasing problems might affect the wrong group of wolves.

Scientific evidence proved that theory wrong by proving that all wolves of the region are indeed of the same species. The removal of the wolves from the ESA will place the huge, problematic predators under the management of the wildlife departments of each state.

The result will be limited hunting seasons, the only reasonable method of controlling wolves or any large wildlife species. Of course, it will also bring courtroom-bound do-gooders to the footstep of sympathetic judges and emotional voters asking them to protect wolves.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail but don’t count on it.

About the Author

Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer, and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian. More Stories by Mike Tontimonia

One Comment

  1. reality22 says:

    The odds of another environmental obstructionist suing the government are pretty good. Three times the great lakes have been to this point. Who cares that the taxpayer is now spending over a half million a year cleaning up after this animal! Every time they sue their lawyers have gotten close to a quarter million dollars in EAJA money.

    *Defenders of Wildlife v. Hall USFWS, 1:08-cv-56 (D. Mont.) – $263,099.66 EAJA dollars paid to Defenders of Wildlife lawyers for the Wolf Challenge against the USFWS’s 2008 decision to delist the northern Rockies.

    *Defenders of Wildlife v. U.S. Dep of Int, 1:03-cv-1348 (D. Ore.) – $272,710.54 EAJA dollars paid to Defenders of Wildlife lawyers for Down listing” of the gray wolf from endangered to threatened status.

    *National Wildlife Federation v. Norton, 1:03-CV-340 (D. Vt.) – $255,500 EAJA dollars paid to Natinal Wildlife Federation lawyers for Wolf argument over Distinct population segments

    *Humane Society of the U S v. Kempthorne USFWS, 1:07-cv-0677 (D.D.C.) – $280,000 EAJA dollars paid to Humane Society of the U S lawyers for Western Great lakes delisting

    That is only four of the thousands of law suits filed by these groups living off the Federal Government & abusing the Endangered Species Act. If all this money was spent on habitat we would be able to preserve & do much more for the environment than forcing this animal into habitat that sets them up for failure. Help support congresswoman Lummis & her effort to reform the ESA & EAJA.

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