The Minnesota Senate Delegation representing northern Minnesota, including Sen. Tom Bakk, released this statement in response to the removal of the grey wolf from the federal endangered species list.
"As the Minnesota Senate Delegation representing northern Minnesota, we want to praise the federal government's removal of grey wolves from the endangered species list. We have supported the removal because it is clear the wolf population in Minnesota has sufficiently recovered and no longer needs federal protection. In addition, we want to express our support for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to take over wolf management and we look forward to working with the DNR on plans for a hunting season on wolves.
The Minnesota DNR has had an approved wolf management plan in place for the past ten years and we are confident there will be a smooth transition for the state to begin wolf management. Originally, the state wolf plan called for a five-year wait after federal delisting before a hunting season on wolves could be considered. But the Legislature, with the support of the Northern Delegation and Gov. Mark Dayton, removed that waiting period during the 2011 special session.
In recent years, the number of deer, livestock and pets killed by wolves has risen. The rapid population growth of the grey wolf has contributed to their traditional food source being reduced, and now wolves are attacking healthy deer, family pets and penned livestock. Removing the grey wolf from the Endangered Species List and returning wolf management to the Minnesota DNR will help restore balance to our natural habitat and keep Minnesota's livestock, pets and residents safe. It will also help our deer population rebound for Minnesota hunters. Hunting is an important economic industry and way of life for many Minnesotans.
We also want to applaud U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken for their work on the federal level to make this happen. Klobuchar relentlessly pushed the Interior Department to remove the wolf from the Endangered Species List. Both Klobuchar and Franken agree this kind of administrative action is preferable to Congressional action.
This is the federal government's third attempt to remove federal protections for wolves in the Great Lakes region. Two earlier attempts to change the status of wolves were rebuffed by the courts and the big question we all have is whether this move will also face lawsuits. We certainly hope not, because we all strongly believe that after 30 years of protection, the wolf now is more than capable of surviving in our region. "