BEMIDJI-Two regional experts on wolves will discuss the impact of the removal of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 13 at the Bemidji Public Library.
Barry Babcock of Laporte and Robert J. Shimek of the White Earth Reservation will be talking about the removal of the gray wolf and the impacts a possible recreational hunt season on the population of wolves in Minnesota.
According to figures from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the state's wolf population in 2018 remains above the state's minimum goal of at least 1,600 wolves.
The debate of recreational of wolves comes after a proposal by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make hunting and trapping of wolves legal again if it becomes law again after July 15.
The proposed law plans to restore the rights of management back to the states and tribes after the removal of their endangered protections.
Babcock is the founder of the grassroots organization Jack Pine Coalition and a regular witness on wolf issues at the state Legislature in conjunction with the non-profit group Howling for Wolves.
Shimek will speak about the importance of the wolf to the Anishinaabe culture and spiritual beliefs. The speakers hope to create a dialogue to talk about middle ground solutions to the new legislative acts regarding wolves.
The Bemidji Public Library wolf display and speakers are presented by Howling for Wolves, a nonprofit organization, dedicated to finding solutions to protect gray wolves and increase tolerance of them. Founded in 2012 by Dr. Maureen Hackett, it is opposed to recreational hunting and trapping of wolves.
The Bemidji Public Library is located at 509 America Ave. NW.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has created a forum for public comment on its gray wolf proposal. Anyone who wishes to comment can do so at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FWS-HQ-ES-2018-0097-0001