Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)
Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan, 2006 Addendum
Executive Summary -
By the Wisconsin Wolf Science Advisory Committee
In 2004 and 2005, the Wisconsin Wolf Science Advisory Committee conducted a review of the 1999 Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders groups. Both groups advise and report to the Bureau of Endangered Resources on matters of wolf management and conservation in the Wisconsin. This report includes updates and modifications recommended to the 1999 Wisconsin Wolf Management Plan by the Wisconsin Wolf Science Committee.
The review of the wolf plan included several meetings with the Wolf Science Committee in 2004 and 2005, four meetings with the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders, and a public review of the 1999 Wolf Plan by interested citizens in between August 13 and September 13, 2004 through email, mail, and contacts at DNR offices (Appendix K). In the following discussion the Wolf Science Advisory Committee will be referred to as “the Committee”.
Wolf population management goals were reviewed and were generally agreed to continue to be reasonable by the Committee. Carrying capacity assessments continued to suggest a potential biological capacity for about 500 wolves. The committee agreed to continue to maintain a state delisting goal of 250 wolves outside of Indian reservations in a late winter count, and a state management goal of 350 wolves outside of Indian reservations in a late winter count. Social surveys indicate that there continues to be strong public support for wolf conservation in the state, although it varies considerably among various groups. In late winter 2005, 425 to 455 wolves were counted statewide, and 414 to 442 were counted outside of Indian reservations. Thus in recent surveys the wolf population seems to be somewhat above the state management goal, but until federal delisting is completed, population controls will not be possible in the state. Federal delisting is likely to be completed late in 2006 or early in 2007.
Concerns and procedure of wolf health monitoring were updated and modified to reflect greater involvement by the Wisconsin DNR in examination and necropsies on dead wolves, which were initially conducted by the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison.
Information on habitat management was updated. New assessments of potential habitat were being conducted, but had not been completed at the time of the review. In general most wolves did continue to occur in heavily forested lands and in areas with low road densities. The committee in general agreed that access management on public lands and protection of den sites continued to be important conservation practice for wolves. Special protection for wolf rendezvous sites no longer seemed necessary with the higher wolf population and ephemeral nature of these sites. The committee agreed that wilderness areas were not necessary for maintaining healthy wolf populations as long as scientifically sound management and access control were conducted on public and industrial forest lands.
The language for wolf depredation management was updated to include new depredation payments rules adopted in 2005, and clarification of procedures and practices. A solid professional program for providing timely and effective responses to wolf depredations management is outlined. The committee agreed to extend areas of depredation control trapping to 1.0 mile from depredation sites in zones 1 and 2, from 0.5 mile of the 1999 plan, when wolves are delisted or federal regulations allow greater flexibility. Authorizations for control of wolves attacking domestic animals on private land have been updated and will go into effect once federal delisting is completed.
List of potential wolf research projects was updated to reflect expanded knowledge of wolves in the state, new disease concerns such as ehrlichiosis and neosporosis, need for assessing potential changes in human attitudes, and continuing to examine wolf impacts on ecosystems in the state.
Wolf specimen handling information was updated as DNR and USDA-WS have started to handle larger numbers of dead wolves. Modifications are being made with necropsies no longer just conducted by the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, as had been the case through the early 2000s. Changes in guidelines for wolf specimen handling was also necessary to reflect reorganization changes that have occurred in the WDNR personnel.
Budget information on the wolf plan was updated to reflect annual state wolf management costs of $250,000 to $310,000, and annual depredation payment costs of $60,000 to $80,000. More secure federal funding has been found to allow USDAWildlife Services to be more effective in dealing with wolf depredation management, but additional sources for funding state wolf management and state depredation payments may be needed in the future.
Two appendices to the wolf plan were supplemented and a new appendix was added by the committee. Appendix F on Wolf Health Monitoring and Mortality Factors was supplemented to add additional mortality data through summer 2005. Appendix H on Public Opinions on Wolf Management incorporated new data and surveys conducted between 2001 and 2005. Appendix K was added to include all the results from the DNR questionnaire on wolf management that was conducted in 2004.
Entire Addendum (PDF; 59 pages)
Prepared January 2007