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WI: Future of Wolves Discussed at Wolf Summit

Many Call for States to Manage Wolf Population

Lena Takada, Reporter

CUMBERLAND, Wis. – “Dogs are a man’s best friend.”

But the saying doesn’t stand for some ranchers, farmers, and politicians, when the dogs are the biggest ones in the canine family, and threaten the livelihood of some people.

“It’s not just that they kill a calf or a cow or something like that it’s that they run them through these fences,” said Senator Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin.

Advocates for state management of wolves held the Great Lakes Wolf Summit in Cumberland, Wisconsin, to urge U.S. Congress to remove wolves from the endangered species list so that they can be hunted. They want to shift power to manage the wolf population from the Federal government to the states.

“We have a very extreme predator on the top of the food chain that are now in numbers where we no longer have room for them,” said Mark Liebaert, Director of Wisconsin’s Farmer’s Unit.

“There has to be a balance, and that’s what we’re shooting for, is just to have a balance where, there should be some wolves, but they shouldn’t be everywhere,” said Senator Tiffany.

The lives of many people in the crowd had been directly affected by Wolves.

“If your dog comes in to my farm and chases my cattle I legally, can shoot it. I can’t shoot a wolf? Are you kidding?” said Libaert.

But wildlife advocates say there are other ways to deter wolves from killing livestock.

“They can use sound, they can use lights, they can use guard dogs, guard lamas,” said Patricia Randolph, a Wildlife Journalist.

Many wolf advocate groups, including the Humane Society of the United States argue that wolves aren’t the biggest threat to livestock.

“90 percent of cattle that die before they’re actually slaughtered, die from health issues, not related to any natural predator,” said Randolph.

With both sides of the issue urging community members to put pressure on their legislators, the future of wolves are still up in the air.