By Melanie Weberg [Letter to Editor\
Eliminating federal oversight of wolves is not the answer. When this keystone species was taken off the Endangered Species List, the game hunts that followed were not only unnecessary, but also incredibly harmful to the recovering species.
States like Wisconsin lost a fifth of their total wolf population in just one season. The courts stepped in to restore federal protections, citing overzealous killing programs. Gray wolf populations are still recovering from centuries of persecution and habitat loss and cannot reach full recovery without federal protections. Wolves have finally begun to repopulate and rebuild their pack structures, demonstrating fragile successes in this effort that cannot be continued while the game hunt for wolves continues and federal protections are absent. Multiple polls across the three Great Lakes states and beyond have shown that citizens want wolves fully restored and protected for future generations.
Additionally, the reintroduction of wolves has proven to increase annual visitor spending at places like Yellowstone National Park by $35.3 million. This proves that wolf presence can contribute to sustainable rural economies in more ways than just a game hunt. In addition to the economic boost, wolves are key players in their native ecosystems, benefiting flora and fauna. They cull weak, old and sick animals from populations and mitigate browsing on vegetation and bringing great vitality to the entire ecosystem.
Urge Congress to uphold and respect the greatest environmental law known to this country, the Endangered Species Act, and maintain protections for our gray wolf.