Deadline Looms for Wisconsin Wolves
March 5, 2012
The Wisconsin’s Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee passed bill AB 502 and its Senate Natural Resources Committee passed the companion bill, SB 411. The Assembly bill is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, March 6th. The Senate version will be up for a vote before the March 16th deadline, no doubt. Both bills seek to reduce wolf numbers from about 700-800 wolves to 350 in the state.
Both wolf plan bills call for:
hunting at night with lights,
hunting with up to 6 dogs
using predator calls, baits and lures
allowing trapping and subsequent clubbing of trapped wolf (or killing by other means); the use of steel jaw traps and cable restraints.
a season that lasts from October through February which can potentially impact wolf breeding/denning/pup season.
reimbursing dog owners for dogs injured or killed by wolves, other than when hunting
Richard Thiel, a DNR wildlife biologist for 34 years, created and managed the wolf recovery plan for the last 30 years. He urged restraint recommends postponing a wolf hunt for at least a few years. There is a plan in place for “problem wolves” who prey on livestock. The best approach, at this point, it the current DNR plan with frequent and ongoing reassessment.
Dr. Adrian Treves, associate professor in University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and head of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, said in his testimony that according to his research, the vast majority of Wisconsinites support wolf hunts as long as they are designed to reduce wolf depredations, where wolves attack livestock or pets, without putting in question the wolf population. He testified that these bills do not ensure sustainable wolf harvests nor does it target wolf depredations and, if it passes, it would increase the risk of relisting the wolf as an endangered species.
Treves said in his testimony:
“The bill is inadequately focused on preventing wolf attacks on farm animals or threats to people. In short, although this bill claims to address depredations, the proposed rules for the hunt suggest that recreation and indiscriminate take are the goals.”
“Wolf depredations have been the greatest obstacle to public acceptance of the wolf in Wisconsin for the last 33 years. This bill does not adequately address depredations because it ignores how predictable these depredations are and how spatially localized they have been.”
“Wisconsin scientists are still debating the amount of illegal killing of wolves and how this might change with a legal wolf-hunt. The answer will help to determine the sustainable annual quota of wolves that might be huntable. I recommend the committee amend the bill to allow one or more years delay in the wolf hunt until this issue is resolved scientifically. Haste makes waste.”
Based on scientific evidence and testimony, Wisconsin’s wolf plan bills are unacceptable because they dangerously threaten the recovered wolf population in the state. We need to flood the offices of the Wisconsin Legislature and tell them why we oppose this bill. When you call or write, please state that you are opposed to all management plans that can potentially compromise the future sustainability of wolf populations in the region.
PLEASE CONTACT GOVERNOR WALKER. Tell him that you want him to veto SB 411 and send it back to legislators for a reasonable and sound-science wolf management plan.
FOR WISCONSIN RESIDENTS – Contact your legislators to tell them that you want them to delay this bill in order to give the DNR time to implement its wolf management plan. Find your legislators via http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx
FOR OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS: Connect yourself to the state either through tourist dollars and/or through the economic impact of abstaining from Wisconsin’s products.
Wisconsin Senators’ email addresses: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/contact/EmailDirectory.aspx?house=senate
Wisconsin Assembly members’ email addresses: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/contact/EmailDirectory.aspx?house=assembly
FOR BOTH RESIDENTS AND NON-RESIDENTS: Contact Wisconsin’s Dept. of Natural Resources – remind them that it is entrusted to manage wildlife on our national forests, paid for through our tax dollars. We want them to be a strong voice in opposition to these wolf plan bills because they are not based in science. http://dnr.wi.gov/contact/