Those who have faithfully followed Oakmoss Education on Facebook and Twitter are aware of my passion for downtrodden critters – I’ve posted on Skunks, Spiders, Mice, Gulls and a myriad of other species whose value to ecosystems is ignored in our anthropocentric world. Getting more attention than any, however, have been Wolves, probably due to the enormous pressure they are subject to in comparison to other species. Couple this with their invaluable service to ecosystems and the members of the genus Canis deserve some extra special attention.
The success of the Yellowstone Wolf Restoration Project has been hailed as one of the best examples of wildlife recovery in the world. Yet less than one year after a politically motivated delisting rider was added to a must-pass budget bill, an all-out war has been declared in five states (with one other pending). These states could not start killing off Wolves fast enough. And there is no argument on who is behind the push to eradicate as many Wolves as possible: Ranchers, who wrongly claim of high levels of livestock depredation (USDA’s annual statistics have never borne this out); and Hunters and Trappers who falsely assert Wolves unduly depredate ungulate populations (behavioral shifts in the presence of wolves has been research’s answer to the difficulty in locating Cervidae species).
Regardless of the science, Wolves are being hunted relentlessly and the wildlife agencies overseeing management programs in the various states (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin) benefit directly from their eradication through the license fees they receive from hunters and trappers. This conflict of interests must end if Wolves (or any other animal) are to have a fair chance to survive in their native ranges. Wolves do not need to be hunted, period. There are no statistics that support it. It is a financial and political decision based not one iota on science. Our nation must do better than this.