It will take 2–4 years of new studies by the USFWS before our newly designated Western Great Lakes Gray Wolves of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan can finally be qualified to be delisted as a threatened or endangered species. Thereafter, a bill for delisting must make its rocky way through Congress. Then after being officially delisted, nothing can be done by state wildlife managers to alter gray wolf numbers for five years. This means current problems caused by over-abundant of gray wolves in Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region and in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan will likely remain unchanged for a minimum of 7–9 more years.
The reason it has thus far taken so long to delist long overabundant wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan is, Americans opposing their delisting won a case in court stipulating until wolf numbers have been restored everywhere in the U.S., all wolves in the U.S. should be protected by the Endangered Species Act. When more sensible minds finally recognized the futility of this, much of original wolf habitat having been permanently superseded by cities, suburbs, farms, ranches, industry and such, it was finally sensibly decided long overabundant wolves in the western Great Lakes Region should be recognized as a separate sub-species that has long been overdue for delisting – making it necessary to begin anew the prescribed process leading to delisting.
The history of gray wolves in my far north Minnesota study area since 1990 reflects the extent to which politicians, judges, anti-hunting groups and just about any other well-intentioned persons who want to save wolves can so adversely affect the lives of wild animals they know little or nothing about. These same persons become outraged upon discovering horses, cattle, dogs or cats that have been forced to suffer starvation because of a lack of food, even plead daily on TV for money to save these unfortunate animals, but they overlook the fact that allowing predators such wolves to become abundant enough to overwhelm their prey species (mainly deer and moose) forces wolves to suffer starvation as well. It is happening today.
The question now is, “Can anything be done to keep whitetails and moose from becoming further reduced in Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region during the next 7–9 years and at the same time keep an excessive number of western great lakes gray wolves from suffering starvation until a favorable predator/prey ratio can be restored?”