A Wisconsin board leader has hailed the forthcoming wolf management plan as a pivotal move toward shedding federal protections for these animals, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the plan, which is still under development and expected to be revealed in the coming months.
“The new wolf management plan will provide the state with the tools it needs to manage the wolf population effectively,”affirmed Bill Smith, chairman of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources policy board.
Smith believes that this plan will pave the way for the removal of federal safeguards, allowing Wisconsin to manage the wolf population in line with the state’s citizens and environment.
In recent years, Wisconsin’s wolf population has been on the rise, with an estimated 1,500 wolves now inhabiting the state. Nevertheless, conflicts have arisen, particularly from farmers and ranchers who contend that wolves are preying on their livestock.
The anticipated wolf management plan is set to encompass various measures to address these concerns, including expanded wolf hunting and trapping seasons, along with provisions for compensating farmers and ranchers for livestock losses attributable to wolves.
Smith characterizes the new plan as “a compromise that will meet the needs of all stakeholders” and envisions it as a humane and effective means of wolf population management.
Yet, not everyone is in agreement. Some conservationists have voiced their criticism, asserting that the plan’s emphasis on hunting and trapping neglects other crucial threats to wolves, such as habitat loss and fragmentation.
The new wolf management plan is a step backward for wolf conservation in Wisconsin,”argued Sarah Hoy, a wildlife biologist with the Sierra Club.
She maintains that the plan excessively centers on hunting and trapping, failing to provide adequate safeguards against other perils facing the wolf population.
Hoy further announced the Sierra Club’s intent to oppose the new wolf management plan, deeming it “unnecessary and harmful” to the wolves.
As of now, it remains uncertain whether the new wolf management plan will garner the approval needed from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to eliminate federal protections for wolves in Wisconsin. Nevertheless, Smith remains optimistic, describing the plan as a “major step forward” in that direction.