Klobuchar Pushes Administration to Expedite Removal of Gray Wolves in Minnesota from Endangered Species List
Washington DC - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today called on Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to expedite the delisting of the Great Lakes gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) list. Recent estimates indicate Minnesota's wolf population is nearly 3,000 strong - nearly double the 1,600 minimum the ESA requires to ensure long-term survival - and the increased numbers have the potential to threaten residents, livestock, and the state's hunting industry, which contributes over $600 million a year to Minnesota's economy.
"The Endangered Species Act has helped bring numerous species back from the brink of extinction, and like the bald eagle, the gray wolf has made a comeback in our state," Klobuchar said. "But now these wolves are hurting our farms, families and businesses, and our hunting industry. It is time for a plan that ensures we restore balance to our natural habitats."
Recently, the Department of the Interior announced its support for delisting the gray wolf from the ESA in western states. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) currently has a management plan ready to implement if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) delists the gray wolf from the ESA.
The full text of the letter follows:
December 7, 2010
The Honorable Ken Salazar
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Secretary Salazar:
Recently your department announced its support for delisting from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) the northern Rocky Mountains gray wolf. In December 2009, Congressman Jim Oberstar and I wrote to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Acting Director Gould requesting he take action to delist the western Great Lakes gray wolf. I write again to urge you to expedite the delisting of the gray wolf in the Great Lakes and inform you that I will be introducing legislation to help speed-up this process.
In the 1950s, the Minnesota's wolf population was estimated at fewer than 750 animals. The ESA plan establishes a minimum population of 1,600 wolves to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota. The most recent estimates of Minnesota's wolf population indicate that there are approximately 3,000 in the state. The increased wolf populations are threatening the citizens of my state as well as our livestock and hunting industries.
The increase in the wolf population also provides strong evidence that the ESA has been successful. Like other endangered species success stories, such as the Bald Eagle, delisting will allow states like Minnesota to implement and enforce their own species protection plans. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) currently has a management plan ready to implement if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency delists the gray wolf from the ESA.
I am confident that the ESA has served its purpose and that the Minnesota DNR is ready and capable of ensuring the continued viability of the western Great Lakes wolf. I look forward to working with you to address this issue in a timely manner. Thank you for your attention to this.