Wildlife groups step up to stop wolf hunts

by Bryna Godar

Two national wildlife groups served notice Monday that they will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put Great Lakes wolves back on the endangered species list and are requesting that Wisconsin and Minnesota postpone their wolf hunts until the case is decided, according to a press release.

The two groups — The Humane Society of the United States and The Fund for Animals — have filed a 60-day notice of their intent to sue over the rule. The first-ever Minnesota wolf hunting and trapping season is set to begin Nov. 3, and the Wisconsin season began Monday.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put faith in the state wildlife agencies to responsibly manage wolf populations, but their overzealous and extreme plans to allow for trophy hunting and recreational trapping immediately after de-listing demonstrate that such confidence was unwarranted,” said Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle in a statement. “Between Minnesota’s broken promise to wait five years before hunting wolves, and Wisconsin’s reckless plan to trap and shoot hundreds of wolves in the first year, it is painfully clear that federal protection must be reasserted. The states have allowed the most extreme voices to grab hold of wolf management, and the result could be devastating for this species.”

Also on Monday, two Minnesota wildlife groups — The Center for Biological Diversity and Howling for Wolves — asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to stop wolf hunting and trapping this fall, according to a press release.

In September, the two groups filed a lawsuit claiming that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources did not provide sufficient opportunity for public comment on wolf hunting and trapping. A Minnesota Court of Appeals decision denied the groups' request for a preliminary injunction last week, writing that the state Legislature's statute, not the DNR's rules, mandates the hunt. The Center for Biological Diversity claims that without an injunction, the case would be decided after the hunting season has ended.