Minnesota Wolf-Depredation Program on Verge of Extinction

courtesy of The Duluth News Tribune
by Sam Cook

The federal program that controls wolf depredation in Minnesota is operating “day by day” in the wake of Friday’s budget agreement in the U.S. Congress. That agreement effectively eliminated funding for the USDA’s Wildlife Services program, which in Minnesota is based in Grand Rapids.

But the program has been ordered by its regional director to keep investigating wolf complaints and killing problem wolves while alternative sources of funding are sought, said John Hart, district supervisor in Grand Rapids for USDA’s Wildlife Services.

“We’ve been struggling to keep our heads above water, and this is kind of the final straw,” Hart said. “Beginning Oct. 1, with the new federal fiscal year, there will be no USDA money for wolf control.”

The Wildlife Services Program investigates wolf complaints and lethally traps or shoots wolves that have attacked livestock or pets. In 2010, Hart’s office investigated 272 wolf complaints and lethally trapped or shot 192 wolves.

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