The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced it will continue federal partnerships to manage conflicts between wolves and humans in the state. Since the gray wolf (canius lupus) was removed from the federal endangered species list, concerns about wolf predation of pets and livestock have risen.
DNR’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services is valuable to livestock and pet owners, who can promptly report potential wolf conflicts to USDA. Additionally, the partnership aids the DNR’s efforts to gather evidence and confirm details of predation incidents. Livestock and pet owners who lose animals to wolves can also be reimbursed for damages.
Delisting wolves as a federally-protected endangered species allowed the DNR and USDA to implement an integrated predator control program using both lethal and non-lethal approaches. Previously, the agency’s options were limited to non-lethal approaches. Lethal options would include issuing wolf removal permits to landowners, which allows the owners of private land to shoot wolves caught in the act of attacking domestic animals.
To receive conflict prevention assistance and compensation, private lands where wolves can be hunted or trapped must provide public access. Claims for missing calves are now limited to reimbursement of up to five missing calves for each verified predator killed. Wolf management became an issue of controversy after the February wolf hunts. Quotas established by the state were exceeded by hunters, and the season closed early.