Effective immediately, Minnesotans can no longer legally kill a wolf except in the defense of human life.
A federal judge’s decision to immediately reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan place the animals under protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Wolves now revert to the federal protection status they had prior to being removed from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes region in January 2012. That means wolves now are federally classified as threatened in Minnesota and endangered elsewhere in the Great Lakes region.
Only agents of the government are authorized to take wolves if depredation occurs.
What does this mean for livestock producers in Minnesota?
Threatened Vs. Endangered
What does “endangered” mean? What does “threatened” mean?
A species is listed under one of two categories, endangered or threatened, depending on its status and the degree of threat it faces. An “endangered species” is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A “threatened species” is one that is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. To help conserve genetic diversity, the ESA defines “species” broadly to include subspecies and (for vertebrates) distinct populations. An animal listed as an endangered species cannot be trapped taken for any reason other than a threat to human life. An animal listed as threatened can be trapped or taken by a government agent for the depredation of pets or livestock.
The Reason for the Classification Change
In 2013 the HSUS filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to overturn a decision that removed Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves living in the western Great Lakes region, which includes Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. On Friday, December 19th, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled in favor of the Humane Society of the United States, which sued to overturn the Obama administration's decision in January 2012 to take Great Lakes gray wolves off the endangered species list after four decades of federal protection. The order affects wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and places them back under the control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In the ruling, Howell called the 2012 decision to take wolves off the endangered species list "arbitrary and capricious."
Current Wolf Population
After speaking with a representative from the MN DNR, Friday’s ruling has nothing to do with the current wolf population. The reason for ruling is directly tied to the administration and details related to delisting of the wolves under the endangered species act.
The MN DNR is suggesting all depredation of pets and livestock be documented with your local conservation officers. The program for compensation of wolf depredation is still available through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Click HERE for more information and paperwork to start the compensation process.
Wolf Claim Form Flow Chart
MSCA’s Next Steps
The Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association working to ensure the wolf hunt is restored in Minnesota.
“The DNR and other agencies we have worked with agreed that the wolf matter was in a good spot.” Stated MSCA President Tim Nolte. “Our members also agree, the MN DNR has done a great job of working towards controlling the wolf population and allowing protection of valuable livestock.”
MSCA will continue communications with representatives from the DNR, Fish and Wildlife Services and elected officials to highlight more details on what the next steps are to ensure the control of wolf population in Minnesota. Be sure to check www.mnsca.org or the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association’s social media outlets for more up to date information as it becomes available.
The Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association (MSCA) is a membership-based organization that represents cattle farmers and individuals who are part of the cattle community in Minnesota. The organization currently represents over 1,000 members from all segments of the beef community.