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E-M:/ DNR Applying for Permit Following Court Decision



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Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 02 March 2005
Contact: Todd Hogrefe, 517-373-1263

DNR Applying for Permit Following Court Decision

Following a recent court decision, state wildlife officials are seeking to regain the necessary tools to effectively conserve and manage wolves in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is preparing a federal permit application to restore its authority to use lethal control to deal with wolf-related livestock depredation.

In January, a federal district court in Oregon withdrew a 2003 federal decision that had reclassified gray wolves from endangered to threatened status throughout much of the United States. Due to the change, management actions pertaining to the species are now more restricted.  The DNR lost the legal authority to use lethal control to deal with wolf-related livestock depredation. In response, the department is preparing the federal permit application to restore its authority to use lethal control.

Although the wolf populations in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota have been exceeding recovery goals for several years, the status of wolves elsewhere in the country drove the court's decision. As a result of this ruling, the federal status of wolves in Michigan has reverted to endangered.

"We are seeking this permit to regain our ability to manage the wolf population in both an ecologically and socially responsible manner," said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries.

DNR officials indicate the best interests of Michigan residents and the wolf population are served when the agency possesses the tools necessary to address depredation and human safety concerns. The ability to respond effectively can minimize the development of negative public attitudes and better ensure the persistence of the wolf population as a whole.

"Public support is absolutely necessary for the long-term persistence of the wolf population in Michigan," said Humphries. "By being able to deal with problem wolves effectively, we stand a much better chance at preventing that support from eroding."

Although lethal control may not be used in response to depredation until a federal permit is granted, the DNR can still offer help with regard to depredation or habituated wolves. The DNR encourages residents in need of assistance to call a local Operations Service Center or the RAP hotline 1-800-292-7800.

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