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August 30, 2006

Judge's ban on killing problem wolves in Wisconsin, angering victims

August 29, 2006 by Robert Imrie, Associated Press Writer rimrie@ap.org
By Robert Imrie, Associated Press Writer rimrie@ap.org 
The Janesville Gazette
P.O. Box 5001
Janesville, Wisconsin 53547-5001


Wausau, Wisconsin - A federal judge's recent ruling that barred wildlife officials from killing problem wolves in Wisconsin has saved the lives of at least five wolves preying on livestock in northern Wisconsin, the state's coordinator of the wolf management program said Tuesday.

Since the judge's decision August 9, wolves killed sheep and calves on four farms in Douglas and Bayfield counties, said Adrian Wydeven of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Until the ruling, wolves causing problems for the farms would have been trapped and euthanized with a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The permit allowed for the killing of 43 such wolves this year.

Up to 10 wolves might have been trapped and killed by now, Wydeven said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his office in Park Falls.

That practice was halted after U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C. sided with animal lfare and environmental groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, in a lawsuit that argued the killing violated the federal Endangered Species Act.

"It has made things a lot more difficult for us," Wydeven said. "A lot of farmers are concerned and disappointed and fearful that wolf attacks are not going to be slowed down."

Eighteen wolves were killed with the permit before the judge issued her ruling, he said.

Eric Koens, a director of the Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association and a critic of the number of wolves in northern Wisconsin, hinted people may be killing wolves illegally to save their animals.

"Landowners will attempt to resolve the problems themselves; that's pretty much understood, at least by those of us in the livestock business," Koens said. "People are going to have less tolerance toward wolves if these problem (wolves) are not controlled."

Wolves were wiped out in Wisconsin in the 1950s after decadeso bounty hunting. Since the animal was granted protection as an endangered species in the 1970s, wolves migrated back from Minnesota, and about 500 live mostly in northern and central Wisconsin.

Earlier this year, the DNR announced that wolves killed or injured livestock on 25 farms last year - triple the number from four years ago - diminishing public support for wolves in the state.

Last year, 29 problem wolves were killed under the special permit.

Wydeven said Tuesday that the trapping of problem wolves planned to resume with a new strategy. A $300 shock collar will be put on the wolves before they are released. When the wolf comes within about 200 yards of a triggering device in a pasture or field, a collar would shock it.

Other high tech solutions, such as motion-activated scare devices that feature gunshots, sires and strobe lights, also will be tried to deter wolves, he said.

In years past before the killing of problem wolves was allowed, the wolves were trapped an rlocated in more remote areas away from farms, Wydeven said.

"There really aren't any good places any more," he said.

The state hopes to resume killing problem wolves once the animal is removed from the federal endangered species, a process that is underway and could be completed as early as late this year, Wydeven said.

Koens said it's difficult for producers to continue to wait in the meantime as their livestock comes under attack.

"There doesn't seem like there's going to be any solution here in the short-term future," Koens said.

In another development Tuesday, a committee of the Natural Resource Board took no action on whether to recommend that the wolf management plan be amended to broaden the definition of problem wolves to those that also harass and scare livestock, Wydeven said.

The issue will be reviewed and likely considered in the board's annual update of the management plan next summer, the wolf expert said.


Additional related reading:

Wisconsin Cattlemens Association



KARE11.com Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota



Farmers vs. the Wolves - farm animals threatened by no-kill ruling

By Jim Dick jdick@learfield.com or 608-251-3900


The Grey Wolf population continues to grow in Wisconsin.

That's good news for the wolves, but bad news for farmers, where new packs have been forming at the edge of the northern forest and closer to farm areas in Douglas and Bayfield Counties.

According to the DNR's Adrian Wydeven, the wolves are killing farm animals. Four farms [have been] hit this month alone. That's about the same as last year -- but last year the DNR had permission to kill problem wolves.

This year a federal judge ruled they can't kill any more [wolves] after an animal rights group claimed it violated the Endangered Species Act.

Farmers have to resort to trap and release, flashing lights, noisemakers and other things that will scare off the wolves.

Wydeven says it all helps, but is not very effective.
The Grey Wolf may come off the endangered list in 2007, well before the judge's ruling can be successfully appealed.

Copyright 2006, WRN.com.



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