Petition: Wolves should be restored across more of USby Bob Kelleher, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — A conservation group is asking the federal government to come up with a plan to re-establish gray wolves across much of the U.S.
The Center for Biological Diversity hopes to see a lot more wolves in places like the Great Plains, New England and the California basin.
The group has petitioned the Secretary of Interior and Fish and Wildlife service for a plan to recover wolves under the Endangered Species Act, said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate.
"We're seeking a national gray wolf recovery plan that would restore wolves far beyond the small areas where they have been restored to date," he said.
Robinson said wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan would remain under federal protection until the population is re-established nationwide.
"Delisting would take place when all of the regions that we are petitioning for ... have wolves in them, but that down listing to threatened could take place when some of those regions have wolves in them and when the remaining regions have achieved interim benchmarks toward recovery," he said.
Robinson said wolves today only occupy about 5 percent of their historic range. Minnesota holds the highest population of gray wolves in the lower 48 states.
The Center for Biological Diversity was one of the groups that went to court to block several attempts to remove Minnesota wolves from federal protection.