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Initially set to end Jan. 10, the allotted time for the public to weigh in on the first update to the plan since 2007 has been extended until Feb. 28 after conservation groups and others asked for more time. The DNR announced the seven-week extension last month.
The current plan, which was written in 1999 and modified in 2007, is widely considered outdated. It has become a major source of contention in the state’s conservation policy as various groups debate what the state’s wolf population should be.
Rather than setting a statewide population goal, the proposed plan will divide the state into six regions — each of which will have its own population goal. The 1999 plan set the state goal at 350 at a time when the wolf was returning to Wisconsin after being extirpated in the late 1950s.
Hunting groups have advocated for the population to be kept around that number, while conservationists have argued that the population be allowed to continue to grow. Recent estimates have put the number of wolves in the state at 972, according to DNR reports.
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