By Andy Harmon
This Thursday, Minnesotans will gather at the Capitol to meet with legislators and demand protection for one of our most precious species: the gray wolf.
Under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, the gray wolf had slowly recovered from near extinction, but its recent removal from the Threatened and Endangered Species List has left it vulnerable to hunting and trapping. With the reinstatement of a state recreational wolf hunting and trapping season in 2012, their numbers have plummeted and their future is uncertain.
The loss of the gray wolf would have widespread consequences. As a keystone species, the gray wolf plays a vital role in keeping forest ecosystems strong. Indeed, a recent study examining the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park concluded that wolves may help to maintain resilient wildland ecosystems — particularly in the face of a changing climate.
As it stands, the Department of Natural Resource’s inability to adequately monitor the scope and effects of wolf hunting is the biggest threat to Minnesota’s wolf population. By demanding a moratorium on wolf hunting and trapping until more comprehensive research can be conducted, we can ensure that the remarkable recovery of this critical species is not lost.
There will be a 1-hour rally at the capitol rotunda from 3:00 – 4:00 PM on February 27th to call on legislators to suspend recreational wolf hunting and trapping in Minnesota. Click here for details about the event from Howling for Wolves. Attend and make your voice heard!
Andy Harmon is a volunteer with the Forests & Wildlands and Communications Committees of the North Star Chapter.