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Controlling wolves: War on wildlife or basic necessity? [Most commented]

December 8, 2011 |  8:09 pm

Wolves
Wolves in Montana and Idaho are no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act. And as soon as federal protection ended, writes J. William Gibson in an Op-Ed that appeared in Thursday's pages, the slaughter began. Right now, people are hunting wolves as a means to control the population and curb damage wolves may wreak on livestock and game. But, writes Gibson, “Pilotless drone aircraft used by the CIA and the Air Force to target and kill alleged terrorists now appear to be real options to track and kill 'enemy' wolves.” How far we’ve come since the 1990s, the sociology professor at Cal State Long Beach laments.

In the mid-1990s, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released 66 wolves in Yellowstone and central Idaho, most of the U.S. celebrated. The magnificent wolf, an icon of wilderness that humans had driven to extinction in the United States, would now reoccupy part of its old range. But in the region where the wolves were introduced, the move was much more controversial.

Now it’s time for Obama to make good on a promise:

During the 2008 presidential election, candidate Barack Obama declared: "Federal policy toward animals should respect the dignity of animals and their rightful place as cohabitants of the environment. We should strive to protect animals and their habitats and prevent animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect."

Readers offer a mixed reaction to this issue on our discussion board. Here’s a cross-section of their views.
               
We need wolves

Do we really have to make it easier again for ranchers who don't even tend to their cattle and get free use of public lands, while all the time they make people sicker, fatter and a bigger Medicare burden with their hormone infused meat?

Killing wolves for sport, does not make you a tough guy. And in the end, killing them for beef profit is only making everyone sicker.

Sadly, I will not visit the naturally beautiful states of Montana or Idaho until they get this right. And I encourage everyone reading this to boycott these states and their products too.
PS New York could use some of wolves. Without an apex predator, the deer population has gotten so large that they have eaten every new sapling. Soon there will be no trees to replace the dying ones. See how this works? If you take out the apex predator, it affects everything below it.

--Marks Page     
            
Extinction happens

Species go extinct. They have since life on earth began, and it will continue until the sun goes supernova and burns earth to a crisp. The thought that we can, with any sort of utility, prevent natural species change is silly.

The thought that the things that we do are somehow not "natural" is even sillier.
The native Americans who came over the Bering Strait caused the extinction of hundreds of thousands of species, and we can fully expect that human activity today will continue the trend.

Now, if they really wanted to preserve wolves, they'd encourage hunting, and get the big game hunters into restocking their game every year.

--jhklat   

Balance is key

Wolf populations in the northern Rockies met federally established recovery goals in 1992, and have since exceeded them. Unfortunately, wolf predation is compounding the growing problems of wildlife habitat loss in the Rockies, and elk calf survival in some areas is now less than 10 percent -- too low to sustain herds in the future. This is not just about having “enough elk to hunt.” The very future of sustainable populations of elk in parts of the Rockies may be at stake.

The key here is balance, and that is what the states are trying to accomplish. No sensible person is in favor of “wiping out” wolves. Federal regulations mandate that wolves in Idaho and Montana be maintained at or above the federal recovery goals of 150 wolves including 15 breeding pairs, and the states have crafted their management programs to keep wolves above that level. There is room in the West for a reasonably sized, stable, well-managed wolf population -- but not for a wolf behind every tree. No one is served by panicked rants about wolf “slaughter.” Let the state wildlife agencies do their jobs. Scientific wildlife management, one tool of which is hunting, is more than capable of striking a balance that will benefit wolves, elk, and people.

--Artemis375        

This is a genocide

The WAR on wildlife and the endangered species act doesn't stop with wolves - the same forces persecuting this essential apex predator and highly intelligent, family-oriented creature, are also trying to 'get rid of ' any other 'pesky species' that get in the way of their exploitations and profits - We will see the complete annihilation of any true wilderness and hundreds or thousands more species if the fate of the word is left to big lobbies like the hunting, livestock, oil and agricultural lobbies.  

Make no mistakes, these giant, heavily funded corporations and lobbies are not out for the best interests of either the natural world or the people; their primary reason for being is to continue to line the pockets of the few.

How dare they declare genocide on ANY species - Every being on this planet is a part of the Planet and belongs to me and every other wildlife advocate, not just to those who wish to exterminate them; wolves are not your  property to destroy. Do not steal our magnificent wild wolves (or any other animals) from my children and grandchildren. How dare you?

This just proves the states can NOT make the right decision for wildlife and wolves and other predators, in particular, must remain under Federal protection.

--Cathy Taibbi  

Wolves are dangerous killers

I have a novel idea. The Woolly Mammoth once roamed North America. Since the nearest relative to the Woolly Mammoth is the elephant, I propose we introduce the elephant to North America under the 10(j) rule of the ESA, just as the Canadian Gray Wolf was introduced.
Then all you folk, who live in the city, and truly know nothing about the reality of wolves, can experience what it's like to have a truly destructive invasive species in your midst. And when the elephants go on a rampage, smash your cars, damage your homes, destroy your businesses, kill your friends and family, and cause traffic snarls like you've never seen before, remember that they were here first.  You are an invader who should go back to wherever it is you came from!

Mr. Gibson should spend his time cleaning up the mess that is California. For all you wolf lovers, I will gladly take you out in the wilds of Idaho and leave you there. There is only two preconditions. You will walk to civilization and you will do so unarmed. If you make it, I have absolutely no doubt your perception of what wolves are like will have changed drastically!  If you don't make it, remember how much you love wolves as they rip your body asunder and eat you as you lay there dying!

There is nothing like the stupidity of ignorant people who think they know but who really know nothing!

--idridgerunner    

*For clarity purposes, spelling errors in the above comments have been corrected.

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--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Corrie Miller, of Ontario, Ore., left, and Richard Wise Bear, of Corvallis, Ore., right, hold signs as they hold a candlelight vigil for "all the fallen wolves" on Nov. 29 outside the Idaho Department of Fish and Game office. Credit: Greg Kreller / Idaho Press-Tribune / AP Photo

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