Summary List Placement
Wisconsin hunters launched an onslaught against the state’s wolf population, killing 216 gray wolves in a 60-hour spree.
The killings, which occurred at the beginning of the statewide wolf hunting season, were 82% above the licensed quota of 119, according to data from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
The DNR initially began by shutting down certain hunting zones. However, it soon ended the season, which was to last the entire week, four days earlier than expected on Wednesday, with a 24-hour grace period until Thursday afternoon in accordance with state law.
The department added that it had sold 1,547 permits, about twice as many as it usually does, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted.
Megan Nicholson, Director of the Wisconsin chapter of the Humane Society of the United States told AP: “This is a deeply sad and shameful week for Wisconsin. This week’s hunt proves that now, more than ever, gray wolves need federal protections restored to protect them from short-sighted and lethal state management.”
Although Wisconsin officials did initially set the maximum kill quota to 200 or 20% of the total wolf population, they decided to come down to 119 after the indigenous Ojibwe tribe claimed their treaty rights to 81 of the animals. The Ojibwe consider wolves to be sacred and also opposed the hunt, the Huffington Post reported.
In the 1950s, gray wolves, which are native to the state of Wisconsin, were eradicated because of unlicensed hunting.
The US’s wolf population is also being targeted in other states. Lawmakers in Idaho introduced a new bill last week to re-classify wolves as predatory wildlife alongside six other animals including raccoons, skunks, weasels, and coyotes. This would mean there would be less regulation of hunting and hunters could use helicopters and snowmobiles to stlak and kill wolves.
If passed, it could cut the state’s wolf population of 1,500 by two-thirds, the Idaho Statesman reported.
The US wolf population now amounts to some 6,000 in the lower 48 states after dropping to around 1,000 in the 1970s, The Guardian added. Around 1,195 were in Wisconsin last winter, according to the DNR.
In October 2020, Donald Trump removed the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List, thinking that the population was high enough, but activists now want President Biden to overturn this.