Cable, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Wolves along the Western Great Lakes region have been on the Federal Endangered Species List for nearly 35 years. Now wildlife officials say it's time to take the species off that list...once and for all.
They say the area's wolf population has recovered from near extinction.
LeAnn Wallace reports.
"When we started working with wolves in Wisconsin in 1979 there were literally four packs of wolves in the state, total population of 25 animals."
Dick Thiel was the first ever wolf biologist for the Wisconsin DNR.
35 years ago, things looked grim for the grey wolf.
"And the consensus really was, we weren't sure if these animals would ever become recovered."
But today researches say the wolf population in our region has recovered.
Minnesota is home to nearly 3,000 wolves, Wisconsin is sitting at 800 and Michigan has around 700.
Wolf researches met in Cable Wisconsin for the annual Midwest Wolf Stewards conference.
One of the main topics this time around was getting the region's wolves off of the federal endangered species list once and for all.
"We have gone through several series of these delisting attempts in the past, they were de–listed for various times in the past and those were reversed because of court challenges to delisting," said Adrian Wydeven, Mammalian Ecologist.
While researchers say the Federal Government's Endangered Species Act was key in helping recover the wolves...it's no longer needed and state's can better regulate the population themselves.
"They're now a recovered species and they need to be removed from that act so we can start managing their populations, and still having them on the list kind of handicaps our ability to manage a population."
Officials say the state can better regulate problem wolves...that attack livestock and animals, among other things.
If you'd like to get involved, a public hearing will be held on May 18th in Ashland at the Great Lakes Visitors Center.