The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a bill that returns wolf management to states and is a step toward fixing flaws in the Endangered Species Act – something Safari Club International, on behalf of all hunters, has championed for years.
H.R. 6784, the Manage Our Wolves Act, was introduced in September by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI). The bill was approved 196-180 and secured bipartisan support from nine Democrats and 187 Republicans.
Passage of the Manage Our Wolves Act will return management of the Western Great Lakes gray wolf population to the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bill will also ensure that Wyoming’s gray wolf management remains under state authority and will direct the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to delist the remaining gray wolves of the lower 48 states, with the exception of Mexican wolves.
SCI President Paul Babaz was quick to praise the win on the House floor.
“First, thanks to Rep. Sean Duffy and so many other supportive Members of Congress for highlighting the critical need to recognize that recovery must lead to de-listing,” SCI President Babaz said. “Second, this is a tremendous victory for hunters, wildlife conservation in general, and State wildlife managers. All of them have played significant roles recovering gray wolf populations.”
While wolf recovery successes have been continually thwarted or ignored by courts acting on the many ambiguities or flaws in the wording of the ESA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service states on its website: “the gray wolf has rebounded from the brink of extinction to exceed population targets by as much as 300 percent. Today, there are estimated to be 5,691 gray wolves in the contiguous United States. Wolf numbers continue to be robust, stable and self-sustaining.”
The recovery of the gray wolf is a success story and H.R. 6784 will help correctly transfer their management to the professionals at the state wildlife management agencies—the primary managers of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources.
“I’m very proud SCI has been a leader in ESA litigation efforts over so many years to help support wolf delisting,” SCI President Babaz added. “Today’s win in Congress is an opportunity for federal legislators to clear away ESA’s roadblocks and enact laws to recognize easily documentable recovery efforts and restore State wildlife management authority.”