Wolves are back on the endangered species list in three Great Lakes states and can’t be touched, even when they pose a threat to livestock on private property.
A federal judge Friday ruled in favor of the Humane Society. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell found the 2012 de-listing decision violated the federal Endangered Species Act and he called the move “arbitrary and capricious.” Wisconsin State Director Melissa Tedrowe says the group is happy wolves are back under federal control.
“We’re very pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the delisting decision was flawed and stops wolf recovery in its tracks. All of us at the Humane Society of the United States feel that this ruling recognizes that granting state oversight has been a failed experiment.”
The ruling ends wolf hunting in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it’s disappointed in the decision. DNR spokesman Bill Cosh notes it’s now forbidden to kill wolves — even in the case of livestock depredation.
“What people who have the removal permits need to know is that the permits which allow lethal removal of wolves issued to landowners experiencing wolf conflicts are no longer valid. In fact, the Department of Natural Resources is in the process this evening of contacting the permit holders to alert them of that.”
Cosh confirms legal teams in Wisconsin are already reviewing the judge’s decision. People are advised to protect property and livestock as best they can, and to immediately contact the USDA Wildlife Services to report incidents.
Wisconsin’s third wolf season ended earlier this month, after hunters and trappers harvested 154 animals.
WRN affiliates WXPR and WSAU contributed to this article.