DNR surprised, disappointed with ruling naming wolves an endangered species

MARQUETTE — The Department of Natural Resources said it was very surprised with Friday’s federal ruling that returns wolves to the endangered species list in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

The DNR also called the ruling disappointing.

Now that wolves are considered endangered, Michigan citizens cannot kill wolves that attack livestock or dogs.  Wolves will now only be killed in the immediate defense of human life.

“There is no way we can say that wolves in Michigan are endangered,” DNR deputy public information officer Debbie Munson Badini said. “We’ve met our federal recovery goals for 15 years now, we have over 600 wolves all in the U.P….so for all of us to manage them as an endangered species is just not effective.”

“There are things we need to do to help livestock owners and dog owners protect their animals and to also reduce potential conflict in residential areas that we can’t do now if they’re an endangered species, so (the ruling) is not just surprising but disappointing too.”

The federal ruling does not affect the DNR’s wolf management plan, however.  The plan was first devised when wolves were previously an endangered species.

“What it (the wolf management plan) includes is a lot more than just talking about lethal control or hunting,” Munson Badini said. “There’s educational aspects, research aspects in the plan. So we’re going to continue moving forward with the updates that will include continued support for the use of hunting as a management tool, but we will not be able to institute any hunting in Michigan until wolves come off the endangered species list again.”

Munson Badini said to contact the DNR to get more information on non–lethal methods if anyone is experiencing wolf problems.