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February 22, 2011

MADISON - An increase in wolf depredations to livestock in 2010 supports a Department of Natural Resources request to the U.S. Department of the Interior for delisting of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, say DNR officials. The full report is available online.

"Forty-seven farms had confirmed depredations on livestock in 2010 compared to 28 in 2009," said Adrian Wydeven, DNR conservation biologist and wolf program coordinator. "This coincides with 2010 when the department's ability to remove problem wolves was the most restricted since 2002, due to court actions preventing lethal control."

Biologists feel the increase in depredations is a result of increasing wolf populations and a lack of lethal control options.

Wisconsin petitioned the U.S. Department of the Interior for delisting of the gray wolf in April 2010. Minnesota filed a similar petition in March 2010. Interior is currently is developing a delisting proposal that will be available for public comment by spring 2011, and complete delisting by the end of 2011. Delisting would return management of the gray wolf to the states, and tribes. All three Great Lakes states with wolves have federally approved management plans. Wisconsin's plan allows for lethal control of wolves depredating on livestock, and pets on private lands by government trappers and landowners.

Biologists will meet with agency and volunteer wolf tracker to review surveys conducted over the 2010-2011 winter on April 15 at the Day's Inn in Wausau on Rib Mountain Road. Interested public are invited to sit in on the meeting to see how wolf numbers are determined by the DNR. Officials expect to have a preliminary late winter wolf population estimate at the end of the meeting on April 15. A final population estimate would be out in late May after all survey data are studied, verified and reviewed.

Owners of livestock and hunting dogs are compensated for their losses. Total loss payments in 2010 for livestock and dogs exceeded $200,000 and since 1985 has totaled over $1 million.

Wisconsin officials believe these loss payments could be reduced substantially by passing management of the gray wolf to the state.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Adrian Wydeven (715) 762-1363

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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