U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation
801 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH 43229
Ph. 614/888-4868 • Fax 614/888-0326
• E-mail: [email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mike Faw (614) 888-4868 x 214
December 21, 2011
Doug Jeanneret (614) 888-4868 x 227
Wolf Delisting Decision a Big Win for Sportsmen
(Columbus, Ohio) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that gray wolf populations in the Western Great Lakes region have exceeded recovery goals and should no longer be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Once official, this move will return wolves to state management in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and some portions of adjoining states.
In an even bigger victory for sportsmen, the Service also announced that it has reversed its previous view that two wolf species exist in the Western Great Lakes region. This previous stance by the Service, that two separate wolf species were present in the region, could have easily derailed any delisting of the wolves. The announcement recognized that the scientific evidence submitted during the comment period was crucial in reversing its position. In July and September, the USSAF submitted extensive comments supported by wolf and genetics expert Dr. Lisette Waits refuting the two wolf theory.
A two wolf position, which was not based on leading research, could have led to additional lawsuits from animal rights organizations aimed at preventing wolves from being returned to state management.
“This announcement is a major victory for sportsmen, conservation, and wildlife management,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation senior vice president. “We applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their decision to recognize the scientific facts regarding wolves in the Great Lakes region. This is how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to be implemented. When animal populations recover, those species should be removed from the list and returned to state management. This has been a long, hard fought battle and is not likely over as we expect the animal rights lobby to turn to the courts to stop the delisting. We will be ready.”
Wolf populations have far exceeded recovery goals and have become an increasing threat to other wildlife, livestock, and hunting and other dogs.
The delisting rule will become effective 30 days after it has been published in the Federal Register. Official publication in the Federal Register is expected to take place next week.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation has been on the front lines working to ensure that wolves in the Western Great Lakes region were removed from the ESA and rightfully returned to state management.
In May of 2010, the USSAF and its partners petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. After the Service failed to respond to the request as required by law, USSAF notified the Service that if it did not act on the wolf petition USSAF and our partners would file a lawsuit. Subsequently, the Service started the delisting process which led to today’s announcement of its intent to delist gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. Joining the USSAF in these efforts are the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Dairyland Committee of Safari Club International Chapters of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition, Whitetails of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Firearms Owners, Rangers, Clubs, and Educators, Inc.