Defenders Asks Minnesota Governor to Veto Wolf Management Proposal

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(05/11/2000) - Defenders of Wildlife today called on Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura to veto a measure that includes wolf control in the state. In a letter from Defenders of Wildlife to Governor Ventura, president Rodger Schlickeisen wrote that House File 3046 “will place the wolf in Minnesota on a downhill trajectory that could eventually lead to listing again" under the Endangered Species Act.

The letter states that the bill ignores the Citizen’s Roundtable plan that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a broad coalition of citizen stakeholders developed after months of intense negotiations. Specifically, the group stipulates that HF3046 does not contain management provisions for monitoring wolf populations, legal enforcement for maintaining the population, public education or authorization of appropriations to keep the program running.

The letter highlights five areas of concern with HF3046, a bill to amend hunting and fishing license fees which includes provisions related to wolf management in the state:

  1. Wolves throughout the state would be subject to lethal control standards that amount to a shoot-on-sight policy. Wolves perceived by an individual to be simply “in the act of stalking" livestock or domestic pets could be shot on sight anywhere in the state and without a permit. Additionally, wolves found in the agricultural zone could be shot without a permit based on an individual’s subjective determination that it was necessary to “protect the person’s livestock, domestic animals, or pets." Thus, shooting of wolves would not be limited to situations where the animal is actually in the act of attacking or killing livestock, domestic animals or pets.
  2. Contrary to existing federal standards and common sense management practice, lethal control would not be limited to those wolves actually responsible for predating on livestock. It would include non-depredating wolves and even pups. Because of this and the stipulation that control can be activated for depredation problems stemming back as far as five years, the chances of actually removing those wolves that caused the depredation problems, would be slim.
  3. Livestock owners would be authorized to proceed immediately to lethal wolf control to address livestock depredation. There is no provision requiring an individual or the state to first implement non-lethal control or Best Management Practices that would minimize the opportunity for conflict.
  4. The bill authorizes a bounty of $150 for the killing of any wolf, but does not authorize compensation for farmers that lose livestock to wolf depredation. In addition, there is no authorized funding for the wolf management plan or for education and public outreach programs to reduce conflicts between wolves and humans.
  5. The bill would allow establishment of predator control areas throughout the state, where citizens can become certified “wolf controllers" and trap and shoot wolves where livestock and pet depredation have previously occurred. We believe control actions, when necessary, should be implemented by professional agency personnel based on stipulated objective criteria. This bill does not contain such criteria.

For a copy of the letter sent to the governor, please call Ken Goldman at 202.682.9400 x237.

Defenders of Wildlife, founded in 1947, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of native wild animals and plants in their natural communities.

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Contact(s):

Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270

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