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Recovery of wolf populations is far from over

Delisting wolves has allowed Great Lakes states to implement open trophy hunting seasons that encourage the most inhumane methods of hunting.

Thanks to John Fitzgerald for highlighting the positive decision by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to offer fewer wolf licenses this year (“DNR lowers Minnesota wolf-hunt quota”). There has been an alarming decline in Minnesota wolf populations, which is a clear indication of the damage that open hunting seasons can do to a vulnerable population.

The gray wolf was prematurely removed from the list of endangered species in the Great Lakes Region in 2012, and Born Free USA is part of an important lawsuit to restore protection there. Delisting wolves has allowed Great Lakes states, including Minnesota, to implement open trophy hunting seasons that encourage the most inhumane methods of hunting.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has now proposed delisting gray wolves nationwide. As demonstrated by the damage done to wolf populations by hunters in Minnesota, their recovery is far from over and their survival is still precarious. It is risky and irresponsible to play guessing games with hunting quotas when the wolf population clearly cannot sustain such abuse.

I am hopeful that the DNR will retain these lower hunting and trapping quotas so that the crucial conservation efforts that have brought wolves back from the brink of extinction will not be undone.

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Kate Dylewsky is a program assistant for Born Free USA.

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