A U.S. District Judge today ruled that wolves living in the Great Lakes region must be returned to the federal endangered species list, which puts the animals back under federal protection and out of the hands of state wildlife management.
Calling the 2012 decision, “arbitrary and capricious,” Judge Beryl Howell overturned the government decision to remove wolves from the endangered species list in three states: Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Recently, the Michigan DNR offered a reward for any information in the poaching of three wolves in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Wolves were being found shot dead in public places, which violated state law. In Traverse City, a new group called Great Lakes Wolf Patrol also offered a reward for information about wolf poaching.
Michigan voters recently voted against hunting wolves in the state after the Michigan state legislature passed a new law called the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. This law would have given the new Natural Resources Commission the authority to allow wolf hunting starting in March of 2015. In 2013 the NRC allowed a wolf hunt with a quota of 43 permits, but only 22 wolves were successfully hunted from the Upper Peninsula.
The ruling will make the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act moot and put wolves back under the protection of the U.S. of Fish and Wildlife Service, where they should have remained. This also means that any poaching of wolves in Michigan is now a federal offense.