Wolf science

To the Editor,

Within the Wisconsin DNR bureaucracy and University of Wis- consin systems, scientists are still debating and researching whether the Great Lakes wolf population is recovered enough for delisting and to return the once again protected wolf back to state management after Judge Howell’s decision to place them back on the Endangered Species List.

Part of her decision was that Wisconsin had not managed it’s wolves responsibly, sustainably or in the interest of the public trust.

Scott Walker and fellow Republicans, especially Tom Tiffany, now want to remove 27 scientists within the Bureau of Science Services.

These scientists study poaching, wildlife populations, forest health and effects of pollution and climate change.

Cathy Stepp says that “the loss of scientists won’t affect science”. Tom Tiffany believes that a deer researcher within this small, fairly independent part of the DNR is pushing to only have predators and no deer in Northern Wisconsin, even though that is simply not true, both politically and scientifically.

These scientists study wildlife only that pertains to Wisconsin and we know wolves are a hot research subject along with our deer.

These scientists also help the state with their applied science of setting harvest limits and season regulations.

Knowing that if the budget goes forward, and the retaliatory nature of this administration, (who by the way would like the see the wolf reduced to a dangerously low population) is this really the best time to return wolves back to Walker’s DNR?

The DNR that doesn’t care that dogs are used to fight wolves?

Whether you like wolves, believe there should be a wolf hunt or that wolves have recovered enough for delisting, the state of Wisconsin does not have the science within the agency to even begin to handle a complex apex predator like the wolf and its relationships to other species in Wisconsin.

For now, until the science in the agency can be brought into the 21st century, doesn’t it just make sense to keep the management of wolves in the hands of ESA?

This administration has spoken and they are not equipped to handle any wildlife science or environmental scientific data at all. They can’t even say climate change!

Wolves should not be in the hands of a dirty, culture war against science. In fact, maybe all wildlife should be out of the hands of this administration.

Sincerely, Melissa Smith


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