Wolves Living Close To Chicago... For Now...
By JoshMogerman in News on Apr 16, 2011 7:00PM
Gray wolves [National Park Service]
Perhaps it is the milder Midwestern manner that has allowed the wolves an easier time in the Great Lakes than out west where the public debate has been a 24-7 talk radio staple---but it seems patience is starting to wear thin up north too. As conflicts grow, wolves have become targets. The AP notes:
In Michigan's far north, where the latest count totaled 557, people are taking matters into their own hands, [Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife specialist, Brian] Roell said. Ten illegally killed wolves have been found in the Upper Peninsula this year.The high population numbers and growing conflict are helping to fuel a renewed effort by the federal government to dump the Great Lakes wolves from the Endangered Species list too. The Fish and Wildlife Service announced Friday that the states would take control over wolf populations, opening the door to more aggressive government hunting---though no open hunting season or trapping would be allowed for the next five years.
The announcement included an interesting new detail—apparently our wolves are a different species from the bruisers out West. Federal biologists claim that recent studies show the northern wolves to be a new and distinct species, canis lycaon. We've always known that things are a bit different for Cheeseheads and Northlanders—but a new species? Clearly the situation in this region is far different from the mess out West, but given the emotional and cultural baggage that accompanies wolves everywhere, there is probably another fight brewing. We will keep an eye on this as the debate heats up.