No need to hunt wolves

Wolves are no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act

Daily Editorial Board

Last week, federal officials removed the gray wolf from four decades of safeguards under the Endangered Species Act. Almost immediately afterward, Minnesota state lawmakers discussed plans to hunt them.

The gray wolf population in Minnesota has been estimated at about 2,900 since the late 1990s and still maintains the status of a âÄúspecial concernâÄù species in Minnesota due to these population numbers.

The gray wolf was hunted to the edge of extinction after the turn of the century. Now that they have stabilized somewhat, we should not try to manipulate nature and maintain animal populations just because cattle ranchers do not want to put their livestock in closed barns at night.

According to the Humane Society, the wolf currently occupies only 5 percent of its historic range and really has not recovered nationally. The Department of Natural Resources had originally devised a plan in the 1990s to not allow wolf hunting for five years after it was removed from endangered species protections, but the same bill that ended last yearâÄôs government shutdown quietly hid the removal of this plan. Sound public policy doesnâÄôt flow through the pipelines this quickly. Democracy shouldnâÄôt be pushed around by special interests.

Wolves are doing well because they are filling a niche in the biological community. Humans need to forego their hubris and let their environment dictate its own health. Wolves are timid around humans and there is no threat of their presence. Cattle farmers should understand the consequences of operating in a wolfâÄôs habitat and not simply eradicate the animals for living there.