Minnesotans For Sustainability©
Sustainable Society: A society that balances the environment, other life forms, and human interactions over an indefinite time period.
Izaak Walton League
Wolves in Minnesota: A Report on the
Wolf Management Roundtable
Mike Furtman, President of the McCabe Duluth Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, represented the Minnesota Division in the recently completed Wolf Roundtable sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Mike has submitted the following report.
At it’s last meeting on August 28, 1998, the Wolf Roundtable sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reached consensus on several key points for the management of the wolf in Minnesota. It is, in my opinion, a good plan, and the final consensus reflects almost exactly the League’s policy as ratified last January.
The consensus items are being incorporated into the complete DNR plan, which will then be forwarded to the Minnesota Legislature for ratification. The plan must be in place before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can complete the removal of the wolf from the protection of the Endangered Species Act’s Easter Timber Wolf Recovery Plan. This entire process will take a year or more to complete. The wolf is being de-listed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan because their recovery has satisfied the goals and objectives of the Recovery Plan.
It is a remarkable conservation success story. I fully expect that the Minnesota DNR will do an admirable job of managing the wolf.
The consensus items are summarized as follows. The complete consensus package contains considerably more detail.
Wolf Population Management
Wolves can expand statewide in Minnesota. Population management, including public taking, will be considered in the future, but not before the 5-year, post-delisting monitoring is completed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Roundtable recommends a minimum population of 1600 wolves (federal guidelines are 1250-1400).
Wolf Population Monitoring
The Roundtable accepts the current methodologies that the Minnesota DNR uses to indicate wolf population abundance and distribution (we also offered a few suggestions on how to modify it).
Wolf Depredation Management
DNR will identify currently occupied and potential wolf habitat areas with the objective of managing habitat to benefit wolves and their prey on public lands, and in cooperation with private, corporate and tribal landowners.
Illegal taking of wolves should be consistent with present statutes on the illegal taking of game. Fines should reflect the unique nature of the wolf. The Roundtable recommends a $2000 restitution value for the wolf. Due to increased workload of Conservation Officers, the Roundtable recommends the need to substantially increase their numbers and the financial resources made available to them.
The management plan should included an education component (we then specified what that should include).
The Roundtable recommends that the DNR address eco-tourism in its plan.
Wolf-dog Hybrids/Captive Wolves
The release of wolf hybrids and captive wolves should be banned. The legislature should consider appropriate regulatory measures, based on public safety concerns.
Management Plan Monitoring
The DNR will convene a group, including the Roundtable participants, on an annual basis to review and comment on management plan implementation.
Funding for Implementation
State funding for implementing the management plan should come from sources other than the game and fish fund.
IWLA, Minnesota Division: < http://www.mtn.org/~mn-ikes/chapters.htm
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