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Johnson & Baldwin Co-Sponsor Senate Wolf Delisting Bill
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/18/2017

Congressman Sean Duffy's bill to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species list now has a Senate companion. On Tuesday, Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin introduced legislation that would remove certain protections for the animal in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming. The measure was also co-sponsored by John Barrasso and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, and Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota.

"After over 30 years of needed protection and professional pack population management, the wolf has made its comeback," Senator Johnson said. "The Department of the Interior decided to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species in both the western Great Lakes and Wyoming over four years ago, determining the gray wolf populations were fully recovered and healthy. Unfortunately, a federal judge overruled wildlife experts in the field."

Specifically, the measure would allow wolf management plans that are based on federal and state wildlife expertise to move forward without any legal ambiguity. Johnson adds that the bill's language does not modify the Endangered Species Act, nor does it prevent Fish and Wildlife Service experts from ever returning the wolf to 'endangered status' if they determine the population is in need of federal protection.

"The Endangered Species Act plays a critical role in saving species from the brink of extinction, and when it does, we must acknowledge we have succeeded in restoring wildlife populations by delisting them," Baldwin said. "According to both federal and state wildlife biologists, this goal has been achieved with the gray wolf."

State wildlife officials say the population of wolves in Wisconsin has risen to nearly 900 animals.

Wisconsin has held several wolf hunts in recent years to help control the population of the wild animal.

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