House Passes Bill Dropping Protections For Gray Wolves

House Passes Bill Dropping Protections For Gray Wolves Photo: National Park Service

November 16, 2018 06:17 PM

The House has passed a bill from Wisconsin Republican Congressman Sean Duffy to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states, reopening a lengthy battle over the predator species.

Long despised by farmers and ranchers, wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned out of existence in most of the U.S. by the mid-20th century. Since securing protection in the 1970s, wolves have bounced back in the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest.

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There are currently more th an 5600 wolves in the lower 48 states.  Alaska has 9,000 and there are 55,000 gray wolves in Canada. According to the Minnesota DNR, there are currently 2,655 wolves in the state living in 465 packs.

"It's another chapter in the controversy" said Nancy Gibson, Co-Founder of the International Wolf Center in Ely. "If they were de-listed on the federal level then each state would have their own management plan, allowing some hunting and trapping."

Gibson believes there are likely enough wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin to de-list them.  "What all these wolves need are enough prey and habitat and protection from humans. The wolves can still probably exist in fairly healthy numbers." 


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The Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the wolf's status and is expected to declare they've recovered sufficiently to be removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Duffy's bill is co-sponsored by Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson and two Republicans from Washington state.

The House bill enshrines that policy in law. It was approved, 196-180, and now goes to the Senate.
 

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Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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