Earlier this year, Sen.Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, co-sponsored a Minnesota Senate Resolution asking Congress to remove the gray wolves in Minnesota from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday, that it will publish a final de-listing rule in the Federal Register on Dec. 28. After a 30-day period, the Minnesota DNR will re-assume management of the gray wolf.
Gazelka also authored a bill to remove the five-year waiting period on devising a wolf management plan after they have been delisted, allowing the DNR to develop a management plan earlier. Sen. Gazelka gave the following statement upon hearing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement.
“I applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for heeding our advice and delisting the gray wolf,” he said. “This process has been going on for over a decade and gray wolf numbers are not only healthy but starting to interfere with other members of their habitats. It’s time we reassess our efforts to manage the wolf population in Minnesota.”
DNR biologists have stated that a healthy wolf population, to ensure their long-term survival, is 1,600. Recent numbers from DNR surveys conclude that the wolf population is nearly double that number.
“The gray wolf is part of Minnesota’s outdoor heritage,” Gazelka said. “I look forward to developing a wolf management plan next session based on good scientific data and research that will guarantee their long term survival. But it is critical that we consider all aspects of our environment when devising a conservation management plan to ensure wolves don’t disproportionally disrupt those habitats in the process.”