Friday, May 16, 2014

Wolf Kill Quota Looms; Alarm Raised Over DNR's Methods, Policies

[Updated 12:25 p.m.] The DNR's Wolf Advisory Committee - - hand-picked by the agency to tilt heavily towards accelerating Wisconsin wolf trapping and shooting - - meets Monday to help set the upcoming season's quota, and conservationists say the process is biased away from science and transparency. A simmering issue:

gray wolf
Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Here is a news release issued today raising these concerns:

Contact:  Nancy Warren, National Wolf Watcher Coalition: (906) 988-2892

Jodi Habush Sinykin, HS Law (414) 507-0004


  Poor Process, Stacked Advisory Committee, Places Imminent Hunting Quotas in Question

Madison—Still reeling from DNR’s April 29th unveiling of Wisconsin’s wolf population count compiled without public input or oversight — Wisconsin advocates for a sustainable wolf population are deeply concerned over DNR’s management of Wisconsin’s wolf population. 

“DNR’s current administration is departing from a long, proud tradition of public involvement and science based decision-making to establish the 2014-15 wolf kill quota,” said Jodi Habush Sinykin, an environmental attorney.

Sinykin represents a coalition of state conservation groups, humane societies, and hunters challenging Wisconsin law allowing dogs to be used to hunt wolves. “It is bad enough that DNR’s wolf population count was conducted secretly for the first time ever, behind closed doors, without the participation of Wisconsin Native Americans,” she said.  

“Come Monday, a Wolf Advisory Committee heavily-stacked by the DNR with pro-hunting interests will be meeting to establish this season’s wolf hunting and trapping quotas,” Sinykin stated.  “This is no way to sustain our Public Trust wildlife resources into the future.”  
On Monday, May 19, 2014, the Wolf Advisory Committee will meet in Wausau to develop the 2014 wolf hunting quota recommendations.  In view of the non-representative membership of the committee, however, wolf advocates fear that the quota settled upon will not be based on precautionary principles, best science and full and fair public discussions.

“Unlike its predecessor, the Wolf Stakeholder’s group, which welcomed public involvement and a diverse membership, the current Wolf Advisory Committee is disproportionately comprised of hunting and trapping representatives, because DNR has excluded conservation and wolf advocacy representatives from the Committee,” said Nancy Warren, Great Lakes Regional Director for the National Wolfwatcher Coalition.
“What we are left with, then, is a DNR advisory committee charged with making critical decisions regarding Wisconsin’s wolf population that excludes organizations like Sierra Club and Wolfwatchers focused on wolf sustainability, while including an array of hunting and trapping organizations, such as Safari Club International and Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, which make no secret of the fact that their primary interest is killing wolves with traps, bullets and hound dogs,” Warren stated.

Those kept out of the process by the DNR have and will continue to raise their concerns.
In a letter dated May 2, 2014, Melanie Weberg, a Polk County educator who attended the past five Wolf Advisory Committee meetings, chose these words to describe the most recent April 29th advisory committee meeting:  

“The tenor of the meeting had changed and narrowly focused on the killing of wolves without any reference to wolf ecology or biology.” 

Noting that the “committee is too heavily weighted by consumptive actions” and “needs to be balanced with conservation-minded people,” Weberg requested participation on the committee.  Her request was denied by DNR in a matter of days. 
Last June, the John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club also sought membership on the Wolf Advisory Committee, citing ”grave concerns” over the committee’s slanted composition.  DNR denied Sierra Club’s request in a letter dated July 26, 2013; the organization is currently awaiting an agency response to a second request.  
Warren, of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, said, “According to the Outdoor Industry Association, at least 60% of Wisconsin residents participate in non-hunting outdoor recreation each year generating $11.9 billion in consumer spending and 142,000 in direct Wisconsin jobs. These voices—hikers, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, nature outfitters— are being silenced by those whose goal is to reduce wolf populations as quickly and drastically as possible.” 

The May 19th meeting of the Wolf Advisory Committee will be held from 9 am- 3:30pm at the Howard Johnson Hotel, 2101 North Mountain Road, in Wausau.

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Fast Facts:
Wisconsin Act 169, enacted April of 2012, authorizes a hunting and trapping season on wolves unlike any other in the United States, owing to a statutory provisions which authorizes the use of dogs in wolf hunting.
For more information on wolf management issues, see:
For copies of the letters sent to/from DNR or a list of the current Wolf Advisory Committee membership, please email or phone (414) 507-0004.

1 comment:

Betsey said...

Thanks to Jodi Habush Sinykin, Melanie Polk, Rachel Tilseth, Nancy Warren, the tribes and the countless other courageous voices that have spoken up in defense of science, and out against this barbarism. They continue to shine the light of public scrutiny onto the dark practices, dark processes and dark motivations of the Wolf-Killer Industrial Complex. Thanks for your excellent work.