Wolf advocates are in court as a coalition of non-profit groups once again sues the federal government over its removal of wolves from the Endangered Species list.
Howard Goldman, Minnesota director of the Humane Society of the U.S., said the delisting did not meet requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act. Wolves once roamed across most of the continental U.S., but are now confined to the Rocky Mountains and western Great Lakes states.
"It's the obligation really of the Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, to restore populations to significant portion of their range," Goldman said. "That has not been done, yet the population in the Great Lakes states was delisted nevertheless. Significant numbers of wolves have been killed, and we think that has to be stopped."
Goldman said people can kill up to 1,000 wolves in Minnesota each year when you consider hunting, poaching and depredation control and that's not sustainable.
"Over one-third of the population, which biologists have told us represents a tipping point at which the populations begin to decline, in some cases significantly," Goldman said.
Estimates put the Minnesota wolf pack at about 3,000 animals. Hunters killed close to the target numbers in the first modern hunting season — 400 in Minnesota and 116 in Wisconsin.
Goldman is a veteran of several earlier lawsuits, which kept changing the wolf's status as an endangered species.