Citing cruel killing methods, a decrease in population and other factors, actress and lifelong Minnesotan Jessica Lange has written an open letter to Governor Mark Dayton requesting that he suspend this year’s wolf hunt.
Noting that the 413 wolves killed by hunters and trappers last year were not hurting livestock or threatening humans, the Oscar-winning actress decried the 25 percent decline in the state’s wolf population, to the lowest number since 1988.
Minnesota reinstated a wolf-hunting season last year, over the objections of several tribes, after the animals were de-listed from the Endangered Species Act.
Lange alluded to the upcoming election and the governor’s bid to stay in power.
“As you again ask Minnesotans for the opportunity to lead our state, I ask that you show leadership on this issue by suspending the 2013–14 wolf hunt and direct all concerned state government bodies and agencies to get back to their stated goals of ensuring the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota, and reducing conflicts between wolves and humans,” Lange wrote.
The letter is posted on the website of the conservation group Howling for Wolves, and according to founder and president Maureen Hackett, it was Lange who “contacted us and asked what she could do ... to be of help to the wolf,” reported the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Howling for Wolves is conducting a petition drive to collecte at least 50,000 signatures to submit to Dayton, according to the Associated Press.
Hunters can kill 220 wolves, down from 400 last year, and permits will be given to only 3,300 hunters and trappers as opposed to last year’s 6,000, according to the Star-Tribune. The early season begins on November 9 and ends on November 24, the newspaper said. The state has 2,211 wolves, which is down 24 percent from the 2008 number, although surviving pups from this year were not included in that total, the Star-Tribune said.
Lange was born in Cloquet, Minnesota. Today she resides nearby, in wolf territory. She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in Tootsie in 1982, and a Best Actress award for the 1994 movie Blue Sky. She currently stars in the television series American Horror Story on the FX network.