Gray wolves off endangered species list

Northern Michigan state lawmakers today announced their support for the removal of Michigan’s gray wolves from the federal endangered species list.

State Reps. Ed McBroom, Matt Huuki, Frank Foster and state Sen. Tom Casperson agree with the recent decision to remove the wolves from the list.

“I have received many phone calls and emails from worried constituents about Michigan’s out-of-control gray wolf population,” said McBroom, R-Vulcan. “With a wolf population that is exceeding the federal recovery goal by nearly 500 animals, wolves are becoming a potential danger to many famers’ livestock. Implementing a management plan that reflects the growing size of the gray wolf population is necessary to maintain proper balance between man and animal, and farmer and wildlife.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has removed Michigan’s gray wolf population from the federal endangered species list twice in the last four yours only to have the decision overturned in federal courts.

Michigan legislators have been working to remove Michigan’s gray wolves from the federal endangered species list and amend the Endangered Species Act to prevent similar future situations. In June, the state House passed resolution No. 48, sponsored by Huuki and co-sponsored by McBroom and Foster. The state Senate passed SR 39 sponsored by Casperson to support these measures.

“I am pleased that Congress has removed the Michigan gray wolf from the federal endangered species list,” said Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine. “By doing this, the wolf will be placed under the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division management plan, which the Michigan Wolf Management Roundtable started working very diligently on in 2007. The Michigan Legislature then worked with the department to put in place two public acts signed in December 2008. These acts allow livestock or dog owners to remove, capture, or kill a gray wolf that is pursuing or attacking their animals. By removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list, these public acts will now be in effect at the end of January 2012.

“The department has assured me they will do whatever is necessary to assist the people of the Upper Peninsula with their issues with the gray wolves under their management program,” Huuki said.

Foster, R-Pellston, said: “Michigan’s unique and expansive natural resources require equally unique solutions, and it is great to see the responsible management of this species back in the hands of our state’s experts,” “This is a positive decision by the federal government, and I will now work with my colleagues to ensure that proper regulations and opportunities are created.”

Casperson, R-Escanaba, said: “Removal of wolves from the endangered species list will allow Michigan to manage wolves and implement strategies at the state level to provide relief to property owners and residents who have been negatively impacted by the increasing number of wolves in the Upper Peninsula. Given that the wolf population has rebounded far past recovery goals, there must be a balance maintained between their protection and sound management policies.”

McBroom said: “I am pleased gray wolves have finally been removed from the endangered species list, but more needs to be done to prevent farmers from losing livestock, game animals from depredation and wolves from encroaching in developed areas.”

McBroom also noted that delisting gray wolves meets an immediate need for Michigan, but a lasting solution nationwide is still necessary.