January 15, 2009

The Wolf Debate: Conservation or Safety?

Recent debate about the reintroduction of wolves in many western states has brought up some interesting points, but seems to be largely about urban vs. rural people.

I mean, nothing against living in the city but wouldn't you be less inclined to lift the grey wolves' (who were once on the edge of extinction) protection rights than the people who actually have to live in the same environment as wolves? And since most population centers are cities, doesn't that swing things towards the urban people's favor?

Now recently, the government is lifting it's protection of wolves after years of conservation efforts - here's an article from the Spokesman-Review:

Eleven months ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the federal government would stop managing wolves in the Midwest and Northern Rockies. Wyoming nearly immediately began to allow unregulated hunting in most of the state, while Montana and Idaho began plans for tightly controlled hunting seasons. An environmental lawsuit ensued, and a federal judge restored protections in July.

On Wednesday, six days before President Bush leaves office, agency officials announced that they think they’ve answered the judge’s concerns and are again lifting federal protections for wolves.

The decision applies in Montana and Idaho, portions of Washington, Oregon and Utah, and the upper Midwest. Wyoming is excluded, until the state comes up with a management plan that federal biologists say won’t threaten the species.

Listening to plenty of people around my hometown, there's plenty of malice towards these creatures, namely because no one wants to be stalked by one or have their animals stalked by them.

And that's where I have to step in, the number of wolves is really negotiable and it's not like they're running over the countryside. However, while you want the wildlife to recover to acceptable levels, you don't want them to become too numerous. With wild areas and human populations converging, encounters are only going to continue to increase and wolves aren't the most compatible things with human beings.

Some speculate that Obama may reverse the protection ruling, which I would strongly disagree with. While you're going to have some people that go out and hunt wolves, I'm pretty sure these natural predators can outsmart Joe Bob and his mudflapped pickup truck. The losses would be negotiable if game wardens and the departments of wildlife could come up with a wolf hunting regime that was very strict (like elk hunting) and then grant ranchers special rights to hunt wolves if they're a problem.

Maybe you wouldn't allow hunting at all? Who knows? Main thing is though, you don't want the wolf population to explode - there's a reason our ancestors hunted them into near extinction - they're dangerous.

Smart management is what should happen, although when it comes to government, that sometimes doesn't happen.

1 comment:

  1. I agreed with some of this, but I don't agree that wolves are dangerous.

    Go to this page.

    "Gray wolves do not attack humans, despite the legends. People are at greater risk of dying from domestic dog attacks than from wolf attacks."

    This isn't Little Red Riding Hood. Wolves are more scared of you than you are of them. There should be a hunting ban on them. What's next, hunting Orcas?