May 4th, 2009:
Hunting of Wolves is on Again
Wolves are off the Endangered Species List and can be shot in Montana and Idaho. A massive public killing season, that will last as long as seven months in some areas, is planned to begin this September. This will even allow for the indiscriminate shooting of pregnant females next winter. However, wolves can even be killed right now if they so much as “worry” livestock or pets or eat too many elk.
March 6th, 2009:
This day brought devastating news for gray wolves. The new administration upheld an 11th hour move by the Bush Administration to remove wolves in the Northern Rockies and western Great Lakes from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.
In Idaho and Montana, roughly 800 wolves - about 60% of the population in those states - are at risk of being killed. Hunting is anticipated to begin this fall. Idaho Governor Butch Otter reiterated his intention to buy the first hunting tag to shoot a wolf himself.
More than 230 independent biologists are on record saying that at least 3,000 wolves are needed in the Northern Rockies to achieve a healthy, sustainable, population in the wild. Currently, the population is only halfway there.
Our Perspective on this Decision
For the most part, wolves live on federal lands. It was a national effort to bring them back. Everyone can have a say about their future.
Wolves are intelligent, social, family animals, with the ability to express joy and sadness, and even compassion. Only a select few other species exhibit these same traits so clearly. It is for those traits that we do not hunt gorillas, elephants or dolphins. Why should it be different for wolves? They need to be protected.
In the short time (14 years) that wolves have been reintroduced to the American West, they have restored stability to ecosystems. This has increased populations of countless species from birds of prey to pronghorn antelope to even trout and cottonwood trees.
Wolves prey upon the weak and diseased, thus allowing the stronger animals to reproduce and perpetuate their own species. By pushing elk out of their usual haunts, wolves keep herds from overgrazing. This is both good for the health of elk and good for the health of the land.
Now, instead of wolves being protected by the federal government, state governments will be managing wolves. It is Idaho and Montana's plan to authorize and license the killing of wolves in order to maintain elk populations at a high level.
It is only some hunters and outfitters, and a few ranchers that wish to kill these animals. But it won’t take many of them, or very much time, to wreck havoc on the fragile population of 1,350 wolves that live on the vast public lands of these two Western states.
Contrary to the concerns of some, wolves are not killing all the elk. The latest available Idaho Department of Fish and Game figures indicate that in 2007 hunters in Idaho killed over 20,500 elk, 1,500 more than the 10-year average. What the wolves are doing is making elk more alert and cautious and thus more challenging to hunt.
The other concern is livestock depredation. Livestock losses have been far less than ever predicted. Wolves cause less than 1% of all livestock mortalities. Furthermore, as of 1987, ranchers can be reimbursed for losses attributed to wolves. To find out more about wolves click here.
Natural Living Magazine, Living with Wolves: “When filmmaker Jim Dutcher made his first steps toward…”
Natural Living Magazine, The Killing of an American Legend: “Wolves belong to all Americans…”