Scientists say Western Great Lakes Gray Wolves Still Need Protection

Scientists say Western Great Lakes Gray Wolves Still Need Protection

A group of worried scientists and experts expressed their concerns over gray wolves in the western Great Lakes. While criticizing other scientists suggesting removal of the animal from the federal endangered species list, the group said Tuesday that protection of Great Lakes wolves should be continued.

Earlier, some scientists said gray wolf population has rebounded sufficiently in the western Great Lakes region, so it is the right time to remove the animal from the endangered species list. About 29 US scientists and many other international experts wrote an open letter where they said, “Lifting government protection from wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin could be justified if and when the US Fish and Wildlife Service uses the best available science that justifies delisting. Currently it does not”.

According to the scientists, some of their colleagues sent a letter to Sally Jewell, US Interior Secretary, and asked for the animal to lose its endangered status in the western Great Lakes region. Currently, the region has approximately 3,700 wolves. In 1974, when the animal was given protection, just over 700 northeastern Minnesota wolves were the only wolves remaining in 48 states.

The department has tried many times in past to remove the western Great Lakes wolves from the list, but federal courts thwarted it after lawsuits from animal protection groups. In last year’s ruling, District Judge Beryl Howell announced that Midwestern states did not have solid plans to protect the animal from disease, habitat loss and humans.

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