Concerns over wolf hunting as Biden administration backs Trump policy on lifting protections

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Gray Wolves Protections (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Gray Wolves Protections (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

To the dismay of wildlife officials, President Joe Biden will uphold former President Trump’s decision to do away with gray wolf protections throughout the US.

Gary Frazer, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Director for Ecological Services, told the Associated Press that the decision raises concerns.

With no federal protections in place, states have modified hunting policies, loosening rules that ultimately cost more wolves’ lives. Idaho lets hunters shoot wolves from parachutes ATVs or snowmobiles, for example. Mr Frazer worries that rampant hunting will lead to a rapid decline in population and eventual extinction.

When President Biden entered office, he pledged to review Mr Trump’s decision to remove protections of gray wolves. Wildlife advocates filed a lawsuit, seeking to gain protections that the Trump administration stripped away, but Mr Biden’s attorney’s rejected the lawsuit.

With huntings and trappings, wolves were reaching the brink of extinction in the early 1900s. But federal protection allowed the wolf population to grow.

Tim Preso, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, said other states’ relaxed hunting laws will lead to a dwindling gray wolf population. “Why should we hammer the population back down and lose all the gains that have been made before any kind of remedial action?” Mr Preso told the AP.

Those not in favour of the federal protection say states should be allowed to create and enforce their own hunting rules.

As states loosen hunting rules with no federal protection, there are discrepancies between wildlife officials and local governing bodies on how many wolves should be allowed to be hunted. In Wisconsin, for example, a Republican board said the fall quota for hunting gray wolves was 300 even though wildlife officials recommended 130.

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