A federal program for trapping wolves in northern Minnesota is coming to an end after more than three decades of success.
The Duluth News Tribune reports that the decision to end the program was an economic one, as there is no money available for the program’s continuation after the 2011 fiscal year ends this week.
Minnesota’s wolf-trapping program has been run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division for 33 years, curbing populations, but with the specific objective of capturing wolves that attack pets and livestock.
Last year, nearly 200 wolves were trapped and killed through the program. A similar number were trapped in 2009. Some estimates put Minnesota’s wolf population at more than 3,000.
The end of the program is being met with concern among farmers, who still feel the state has an abundance of wolves, and that those wolves still pose a threat.
“We’ve got too many wolves causing too many problems now,” says Dale Lueck, treasurer of the Minnesota Cattleman’s Association. “If you take this program away, it will be a disaster.
Despite being federally protected animals, the wolves can be legally trapped because of their “threatened” (as opposed to “endangered”) status in Minnesota. Minnesota’s neighboring state of Wisconsin, on the other hand, relocates the wolves because they are deemed “endangered” in that state.