Michigan takes over management of its wolf populations
The Associated Press
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Wolves attacking livestock or dogs in Michigan can now be killed under a new management plan instituted by the state, but hunting or trapping the animals remains illegal.
Michigan has more flexibility in handling problem wolves now that wolves in the western Great Lakes region have been removed from the federal endangered species list. Of the estimated 4,400 wolves in the region, which also includes Minnesota and Wisconsin, about 687 roam across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
State laws that allow for the removal, capture or killing of a wolf “in the act of preying upon” someone’s livestock or dogs went into effect Friday. Michigan’s DNR said it would continue to recommend as a first option nonlethal ways of dealing with problem wolves.
“Although lethal control methods are now legal in certain circumstances, wolves remain a protected species in Michigan and no hunting or trapping season is in place,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division. “The DNR will investigate and continue prosecution of any wolf-poaching cases.”
The illegal killing of a wolf is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and repayment of costs for prosecution.
Guidelines for livestock or dog owners forced to kill wolves include reporting the animal’s death within 12 hours and keeping the animal’s carcass until the DNR takes possession of it.
Michigan DNR director Rodney Stokes said the removal of wolves from the endangered species list shows that their population is recovering and was a victory for the state and residents who have been affected by wolves attacking their pets or livestock.
“The state’s healthy wolf population is a reminder that Michigan still has places where wild animals such as wolves can live and thrive,” he said in a written statement. “Fully implementing the state’s Wolf Management Plan will allow us to more effectively respond to problem wolves, while maintaining a self-sustaining wolf population and increasing social acceptance of the species as a whole.”
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.