Posted at 9:51 AM on December 21, 2011
by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Environment
Gray Wolf. Credit: John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS
MPR News reporter Stephanie Hemphill writes:
Obama administration is taking gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region off the federal endangered species list.This is the third time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has tried to remove federal protections from the gray wolf.
Environmental groups say they will study the rationale closely before deciding whether to try again to stop the de-listing in court.
Minnesota's wolf population has stabilized at close to three-thousand animals. The state's wolf plan, in place since 2001, has set a minimum population of sixteen-hundred wolves to ensure long-term survival.
With de-listing, responsibility for managing and protecting wolves will be turned over to state wildlife agencies. The populations will be monitored for at least five years to make sure they remain at sustainable levels.
Minnesota's original wolf management plan called for a five-year wait before any hunting is allowed, but that delay was changed in negotiations at the end of the state government shut-down in July.