Regional News Briefs: Groups sues to stop wolf hunts in Upper MidwestRegional News
-- Two national groups -- The Fund for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States -- says they'll ask a federal judge in Washington to put the grey wolf back on the endangered species list and stop this fall's hunts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
WASHINGTON D.C. -- Two national groups -- The Fund for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States -- says they'll ask a federal judge in Washington to put the grey wolf back on the endangered species list and stop this fall's hunts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Badger State 's wolf hunt is already underway and Minnesota 's begins November 3rd, but U.S. Humane Society Minnesota spokesman Howard Goldman says because those hunts continue into next year, they could be stopped if a court grants an injunction.
The Minnesota DNR says it thoroughly studied Minnesota's wolf population and a hunt poses no threat. Wisconsin’s wolf hunt will keep going. The season began yesterday, and the DNR’s Kurt Thiede said it will continue as required by state law. In a statement after the notice was filed, Governor Scott Walker called the start of the wolf hunt a “landmark day.” He made no mention of the possible lawsuit. But Walker defended the hunt, saying Wisconsin’s wolf population had reached a point in which quote, “this public harvest is necessary to maintain a safe balance.” The governor’s office said over 600 hunting permits had been issued by yesterday morning. 1,160 hunters won a lottery to take 116 wolves between now and next February.
Two previous lawsuits prevented Upper Midwest wolves from being taken off the federal endangered species’ list. The delisting occurred in January, and Wisconsin lawmakers almost immediately worked to create the hunting season. U.S. Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle called Wisconsin’s hunt “reckless,” and he said Minnesota broke a promise to wait five years before its hunt. Minnesota’s DNR said it thoroughly studied the issue, and decided a hunt would not be detrimental to its wolf population.
A one-million-dollar bond has been set for a Minnesota man accused of killing a Wausau area woman, after he allegedly stole two weapons from a gun dealer and a pickup truck. 21-year-old Richi Vue of Saint Paul made his first court appearance in Marathon County yesterday on charges of homicide, theft, vehicle theft, fleeing an officer, and possessing guns as a convicted felon. Authorities said Vue shot his girlfriend, 20-year-old Lee Xiong, to death last Saturday night at her apartment in Weston. That was after they argued about a drug deal which went sour. Officials said Vue, Xiong, and a 14-year-old unrelated witness smoked meth-amphetamines for several hours before the shooting. Sheriff’s officers from Marathon and Clark counties tracked down the suspect after he allegedly tried to elude them in a wooded area near Abbotsford, about 40 miles west of the murder scene. Vue was arrested early Sunday after a brief chase. Prosecutors said he was driving a truck stolen September 11th from a Wausau area dealership – and officers recovered a .357 Magnum and a .40-caliber handgun that were stolen recently from a gun shop in Lincoln County. Vue is due back in court October 25th, when a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to order a trial.
Twenty-one U.S. and Canadian institutions are banding together to help restore and protect the Great Lakes. Three universities in neighboring Michigan are among those taking part in the Great Lakes Futures Project, which was announced yesterday. They plan to draft a series of papers explaining factors which have affected the lakes for the last 50 years, plus issues expected in the next 50 years. Invasive species, climate change, chemical pollution, and the economy will all be explored. The project is designed to help government, school, and business leaders answer long-range questions about preserving the Great Lakes – including the management of watersheds. Besides the research, the project will feature numerous public events put on by schools and community groups. The University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State of Detroit, and Buffalo are the U.S. colleges providing funds for the new project. Additional money comes from the Michigan and New York Sea Grant programs, and the Group for Inter-University Research in Limnology and Aquatic Environment.
A new research effort in neighboring Minnesota could help Wisconsin experts better understand aquatic invasive species – including zebra mussels and the Asian carp. University-of-Minnesota carp biologist Peter Sorensen says researchers are trying to develop technology that will more accurately and precisely measure the presence of invasive water species. They’ll also try to create ways to manage them effectively. Sorensen says there are probably invasive species in every body of water in Minnesota – and his group is in the process of hiring experts to focus on zebra mussels and the Asian carp. Both have been harmful in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.