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      Feds to delist gray wolves

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is planning to publish the final ruling on gray wolf delisting in the Federal Register on December 28.

      Once wolves are delisted from the federal endangered species list, control will be given to states individually. The change will go into effect 30 days after it is published, on January 27, 2012.

      According to officials the wolf population has exceeded the federal recovery plan. The required number was 100 animals in Michigan and Wisconsin combined. Michigan currently has around 687 animals divided into 131 packs, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Wisconsin has around 700 animals.

      The Michigan DNR approved the state's wolf management plan in 2008. That plan will be used as the official wolf management plan for the state.

      Laws passed by the state legislature passed in 2008 give livestock and dog owners the ability to remove, capture or kill a wolf that is in the act of preying on the livestock or dog. Currently a wolf can be killed if there is an imminent threat to human life.

      This is great news for the state TMs wolf population and for Michigan citizens who have been affected by this issue, said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. Treating wolves as an endangered species, when the population has exceeded federal recovery goals in Michigan for more than a decade, has negatively impacted public opinion in areas of Michigan where wolves are established on the landscape. I firmly believe that the more flexible management options allowed under the state TMs Wolf Management Plan will help increase social acceptance of the species while maintaining a healthy, sustainable wolf population.

      Once wolves are taken off the federal endangered species list, they will still be a protected species in Michigan. This means that there is no hunting or trapping allowed, and the DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will investigate and prosecute people who are in violation of the wolf management plan. It would take an act of the Michigan legislature to make wolf a game species.

      Here are some of the comments from our Facebook page regarding the announcement:

      "The state can't manage anything," said Facebook fan Joe Ski. "Leave the wolves alone they were here before you and I."

      "Great opportunity to structure a 'draw' type season on wolves and generate some revenue," adds Rick Sanville.

      Be sure to express your opinion about the issues surrounding gray wolves on our Facebook page, twitter @wluctv6, or below in the comment section.