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Gray Wolf

Final Environmental Assessment: Management of Wolf Conflicts and Depredating Wolves in Michigan

 

Below is the Summary of the Proposed Action from the Environmental Assessment. Go here to view or download the complete Final Environmental Assessment: Management of Wolf Conflicts and Depredating Wolves in Michigan (166-page PDF)

 

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED ACTION

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (WS) and the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), in accordance with State and Federal regulations and guidance on wolf management, propose to implement an Integrated Wildlife Damage Management (IWDM) program in Michigan to protect resources from gray wolf (Canis lupus) damage and promote wolf conservation. The analysis covers wolf damage actions that could be conducted by the USFWS, WS and the MDNR while wolves are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and actions that could be taken by WS if wolves are officially classified as recovered and no longer protected by the ESA.1 The proposed action includes the USFWS issuing permits for take of wolves under Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act. WS would act as agents of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) which is the agency requesting a permit for the take of depredating wolves from the USFWS. Under the preferred alternative, damage management would be conducted on private or public property in Michigan when the resource owners/managers request assistance to alleviate wolf damage, wolf damage is verified, and agreements have been completed specifying the details of the damage management action. The types of wolf conflicts that could be addressed include: 1) depredation on livestock, 2) depredation on pets, and 3) potential threats to human health and safety. Under the preferred alternative, the IWDM strategy would encompass the use of the full range of legal, practical and effective methods of preventing or reducing damage while minimizing harmful effects of damage management measures on humans, wolves, other species, and the environment. Under this action, WS and the MDNR would provide technical assistance and operational damage management, including non-lethal and lethal management methods selected after applying the WS Decision Model (Slate et al. 1992). When appropriate, best management practices (animal husbandry), frightening devices, and livestock guarding animals could be recommended and utilized to reduce wolf damage. In other situations, when the damage situation and landowner practices meet USFWS and MDNR requirements, wolves would be removed as humanely as possible using foothold traps, foot snares, neck snares, and shooting. In determining the damage management strategy, preference would be given to non-lethal methods when they are deemed practical and effective. Lethal methods would be used to reduce damage after practical and appropriate non-lethal methods have been considered and determined to be ineffective or inappropriate in reducing damage to acceptable levels. However, non-lethal methods may not always be applied as a first response to each damage problem. The most appropriate initial response to a wolf damage problem could be a combination of non-lethal and lethal methods, or there could be instances where application of lethal methods alone would be the most appropriate strategy. All wolf damage management would be conducted in compliance with appropriate federal, state, and local laws and court-mandated restrictions.

 

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Last updated: April 1, 2014