Debate over delisting wolves in Great Lakes region begins again.
75 Fed. Reg. 55730 (Tuesday, September 14, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2010–0062; 92220–1113–0000–C6
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on Petitions To Delist the Gray Wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and the Western Great Lakes; Notice of petition finding and initiation of status review.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 90-day finding on petitions to remove (delist) the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List) established under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Based on our review, we find that the petitions present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that removing the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan from the List may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a review of the status of the species to determine if delisting in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan is warranted. To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Based on the status review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petitions, which will address whether any of the petitioned actions are warranted, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act. DATES: To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we request that we receive information on or before November 15, 2010. Please note that if you are using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below), the deadline for submitting an electronic comment is 12:00 Midnight, Eastern Standard Time on this date.
BACKGROUND: FWS received petitions to delist the gray wolf from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, theWisconsin Department of Natural Resources (source of howling wolf photo above), the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association of America. FWS found that that the petitions provide substantial information that the wolf in Minnesota alone; in Minnesota and Wisconsin combined; in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan; and in the western Great Lakes area, may be considered as a ‘‘species’’ under the Act. In the 12-month finding, FWS will fully analyze whether gray wolves in those areas constitute ‘‘species’’ under the Act, and whether they are a threatened species or endangered species under the Act.
EXCERPT: The high reproductive potential of wolves allows wolf populations to withstand relatively high mortality rates, including human-caused mortality. The principle of compensatory mortality is believed to occur in wolf populations. This means that human-caused mortality is not simply added to ‘‘natural’’ mortality, but rather replaces a portion of it. For example, some of the wolves that are killed during depredation control actions would have otherwise died during that year from disease, intraspecific strife, or starvation. Thus, the addition of intentional killing of wolves to a wolf population will reduce the mortality rates from other causes on the population. Based on 19 studies by other wolf researchers, research concludes that human-caused mortality can replace about 70 percent of other forms of mortality.
KEITHINKING: This is the fourth effort to delist the wolves in Minnesota. See NPR. Sportsman’s groups, who emphasize the substantial differences in population sizes between Great Lakes area wolves and western state wolves, are a major force in the delisting effort. See Upper Peninsula based Daily Press and Duluth News Tribune. However, this time, the sportsmen have the support of the state wildlife agencies and numerous conservation groups. See Gary Engberg Outdoors blog. As one FWS e-mail said, probably referring to the inevitable litigation, “Here we go!”