Media Center



Citing Proper Role of States In Managing Wildlife Populations, Attorney General Van Hollen Joins 10 Other States In Amicus Brief to the United States District Court For the District of Columbia


MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has joined a brief on behalf of the State of Wisconsin and 10 other states and state wildlife management agencies urging the federal United States District Court for the District of Columbia to affirm the decision of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that "delists" the northern gray wolf from the United States endangered species list in the Western Great Lakes Region, including in Wisconsin.


The USFWS rule, adopted in February 2007, designates the western Great Lakes populations of gray wolves as a distinct population segment and removing them from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife. Last April, the Humane Society challenged the rule that delists the Great Lakes region wolves, arguing that it is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act because that population has not recovered over its entire historic range.


The States' brief argues that based on the documented recovery of the wolf population in the western Great Lakes States, the USFWS properly determined that the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes States no longer met the definitions of threatened or endangered species. The USFWS found that the wolf populations in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota met or exceeded the delisting criteria specified in previous plans for recovery of the wolf population.


The brief also addresses the role Congress intended the states to have in managing its resident populations.


Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen stated, "Fish and Wildlife's decision places gray wolf wildlife management back in Wisconsin's hands, where it belongs. We should defend that decision. The State, including its Department of Natural Resources, has determined that the wolf population in Wisconsin has recovered from its previous endangered and threatened status. It is time for Wisconsin's wolf population to be managed by Wisconsin, not Washington."


"That is why I am so pleased that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has been active for some time in supporting the United States Fish and Wildlife's delisting decision. I am pleased that Governor Doyle has authorized me to represent Wisconsin's interest in this case."


The case is Humane Society of the United States, et al., v. Kempthorne, et al., United States District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 1:07-CV-677, filed April 16, 2007.