Before doing the necessary studies to determine actual wolf populations, we have now had two wolf hunts in Minnesota. There is no way to know whether their numbers are threatened without this survey and so the Senate has voted to re-instate a temporary moratorium on the wolf hunt until studies can be done. There are other proposed changes as well:
After the 1930’s, the timber wolf was decimated in the lower 48 states leaving only Minnesota with original gray wolf populations, the only outside of Alaska in the United States. Studies have shown also that populations of healthy wolves are controlled in great part by the diversity of the gene pool, diminishing the birth of pups and reducing the possibility of recovery in places where there is a lack of diversity as in Yellowstone and Isle Royale. The gene pool of wolves here in Minnesota is more diversified, being wild, and therefore priceless in the reestablishment of the species here and elsewhere. At last count we have almost half of the wolves extant in the lower 48. Those numbers have been diminished greatly by two hunting seasons.
With the threat of copper mining looming if the Polymet is permitted (ROD due this fall and permit process already moving forward) the wolves will not be the only receptors of concern at risk. Protections of these apex predators would be a beginning.
Please contact your representatives and send a letter to Governor Dayton voicing your concern and support for reinstatement of a moratorium on hunting the timber wolf. Your representatives in the house need to hear from you concerning HF 2680.I am including Senator Scott Dibble’s response on April 13th, 2012 in part, to these concerns below:
“Prior to 1974 when wolves were unprotected in Minnesota, the wolf population fell to below 400. Since then, after they were added to the federal Endangered Species List and also classified as threatened by the State of Minnesota, their population has grown to somewhere between 2,200 and 3,500. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) tells us that absent a hunting and trapping season, the population has been stable since 1998. Exact numbers are not known, hence the need for more data and better diligence.
… Owners of livestock, guard animals, and domestic animals are already allowed to shoot wolves that pose a threat to their animals. The state also compensates farmers for livestock lost to wolves. In 2001, the DNR’s Wolf Management Plan, created with the help of more than two dozen stakeholders, called for a five year moratorium on the taking of wolves following federal delisting from the Endangered Species List. I will work to see that the DNR’s original plan is implemented so that careful planning will not be pre-empted by this legislative rush to open up a wolf hunt.”