UNDATED (WSAU) Wisconsin’s wolf hunt will keep going, despite a legal notice which seeks to put Upper Midwest grey wolves back under federal protections. The Humane Society of the U-S and the Fund-for-Animals filed a notice yesterday which gives the federal government 60 days to put Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan wolves back on the endangered species list – or else they’ll ask the courts to put them back.
The animal rights’ groups also asked Wisconsin and Minnesota to call off their wolf hunts until the case is resolved. But Wisconsin’s D-N-R said it would do no such thing. The season began yesterday, and the D-N-R’s Kurt Thiede said it will continue as required by state law. In a statement after the notice was filed, Governor Scott Walker called the start of the wolf hunt a “landmark day.” He made no mention of the possible lawsuit. But Walker defended the hunt, saying Wisconsin’s wolf population had reached a point in which quote, “this public harvest is necessary to maintain a safe balance.” The governor’s office said over 600 hunting permits had been issued by yesterday morning. 1,16060 hunters won a lottery to take 116 wolves between now and next February.
Two previous lawsuits prevented Upper Midwest wolves from being taken off the federal endangered species’ list. The de-listing occurred in January, and Wisconsin lawmakers almost immediately worked to create the hunting season.
U-S Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle called Wisconsin’s hunt “reckless,” and he said Minnesota broke a promise to wait five years before its hunt. Minnesota’s D-N-R said it thoroughly studied the issue, and decided a hunt would not be detrimental to its wolf population.