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WI: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Leader Asks Congress For Help On Wolves

Testimony Is Part Of Discussion Of Endangered Species Act

By Chuck Quirmbach

The leader of Wisconsin’s largest farm group testified before Congress Wednesday, in favor of removing endangered species protection for the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region.

The Senate Environment Committee is considering what it calls “modernizing” the Endangered Species Act. Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte told the panel that flaws in the act allow legal delays that keep the gray wolf under federal protection in the Upper Midwest.

“The ESA has been successful for species recovery, but it has failed to remove the species once the population is adequately recovered,” Holte said.

Holte said many wolves continue to attack Wisconsin livestock. He says the ESA should respect landowners.

But Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark testified that the Endangered Species Act does not need to be “fixed.”

“For many species, recovery occurs not over years or months, but over decades, We cannot rush nature toward recovery, but we can rush its destruction be weakening the single greatest tool to protect it,” Clark said.

Wildlife advocates say the gray wolf should stay on the endangered species list in the western Great Lakes region until the wolf is found in sizable numbers throughout its traditional range across much of the U.S. But Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson offered written testimony Wednesday in favor of his bill that he says “would return control over protection of the gray wolf to federal wildlife agencies, instead of federal judges.”