Grey Wolves Could Lose Endangered Species Status, Senators Submit Legislation

New legislation is in Congress this week could take grey wolves off the Endangered Species List.

If passed, it would lift protections from the wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Wyoming. 

Gray wolves were put back on the Endangered Species List after a lawsuit from the Humane Society of the United States passed last year.

That sparked a heated debate of whether agencies should be able to control the wolf population.

The Department of Natural Resources says there have been about 15 wolf-related animal deaths in the Upper Peninsula this year.

That is a decrease from last year. 

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Erin Malone continue our coverage on the new gray wolf bill.

"Wolves are important to maintaining the natural balance of nature, but we need to be able to manage them," Richlo Dairy Farms co-owner Wendell Miller said.

Two U.S. senators introduced legislation this week to take grey wolves off the federal Endangered Species List in four states. 

Wendell Miller at Richlo Dairy Farms hopes the legislation passes because it helps protect his cattle. 

"We’ve had more animals killed than I care to think and remember," Miller said. "I’ve heard the sound that a calf makes when they’re in terror of being pulled down by a wolf."

But Miller stresses the animals should not be harmed for no reason.

"I think the DNR can manage them so that we have a viable population and yet it doesn’t adversely affect those of us that are in the wolf area," Miller said.

But the members of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign disagrees, saying de-listing grey wolves could be disastrous to the population.

"Wolves would face, once again, these reckless and irresponsible killing and population reduction programs under the state." Keep Michigan Wolves Protected director Jill Fritz said.

The campaign says a good compromise would have been changing the wolf status to threatened, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service turned that down.

"That would allow agencies in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan to use lethal control on wolves attacking livestock," Fritz said. "However, it would prevent the trophy hunting of wolves."