Wolf, © Richard Seeley / National Geographic Stock

Wolf Weekly Wrap-up

Gibbon pack in Yellowstone. Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

When the weather breaks – Some bad weather passing through Idaho may be the only thing keeping 50 wolves alive in the Lolo zone of Clearwater National Forest. Idaho Fish and Game officials have said the state is ready to move forward with plans to remove up to two-thirds of the wolves in the area by aerial gunning, just as soon as the weather improves. The aerial gunning plan was approved by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission at its December meeting and will be carried out by federal agents with Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hunters and trappers have already killed at least 260 wolves so far this season, yet the state is still targeting more wolves in order to boost elk numbers for hunters. We’re pushing the state to abandon this unwarranted and unscientific wolf-killing plan. We’re also calling on the Obama administration to reform Wildlife Services and stop wasting precious tax dollars to artificially boost game populations. American taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to subsidize hunters. It’s time for Idaho to start managing wolves responsibly as they manage other wildlife instead of trying to kill as many wolves as possible.

Crossing a line – Defenders isn’t the only group expressing concerns over Montana’s proposal to extend the wolf hunt in the Bitterroot Valley until April 1. Two members of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission voted against the proposal. Commissioner Ron Moody has taken it a step further by openly criticizing the proposal, which he says would cross the line of ethical fair-chase hunting. Hunters aren’t typically allowed to shoot animals during their reproductive season when pregnant mothers are relatively defenseless. He also points out that wolves are just one of many factors that have reduced the size of the elk herd in the Bitterroot. He says bad winters, over-harvest of cow elk in prior years, others predators and habitat fragmentation have all conspired against elk.

“You can’t single out the wolf, and say, well, we’ll eradicate the wolves and that will fix the problem,” he said. “If you eradicate the wolves, you’d probably have one less excuse for what the real problems are.”

Listen to a feature interview with Moody on Montana Public Radio (jump to the 9-minute mark):

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In a column titled “Hatred of predators reaches ridiculous fervor,” Nick Gevock at the Montana Standard also laments the kill-all-the-wolves mentality en vogue across much of Montana. He writes:

“Do wolves, bears, mountain lions and other predators kill game? Of course they do, and they should be managed to sustain and yet control their populations using sound science, not hysteria.
In the early 20th century, we tried predator control as a cure-all to boost game numbers. It failed, because it didn’t take into account the myriad of factors that go into sustaining healthy wildlife numbers.”

“The Grey” area between fact and fiction – Though we’re still hoping “The Grey” will flop at the box office, the movie continues to garner attention for its sensational (and violent) portrayal of wolves. Our wolf expert Suzanne Stone explained to Greenwire why even fictional tales can do wolves a disservice:

“This kind of misrepresentation of the nature of wolves leads to a lot of confusion and fear of the species, which can drive their politics and management… Movies like ‘The Grey’ are fueling anti-wolf sentiments in popular culture at a crucial time for wolf recovery.”

Case in point: in the same article, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) perpetuates the ridiculous myth that wolves eat children. That’s just the kind of irrational fear that anti-wolf extremists are only too eager to spread. Now “The Grey” is making their job easier.


One Response to “Wolf Weekly Wrap-up”

  1. Richard T. Hoover Sr.

    I am Air Force veteran 82 years old and I find it hard to believe
    that we don’t care about our wildlife to the extent that we will
    kill any that someone says is harm full to the hunters. Maybe we
    should govern them more strict..I used to hunt deer but I gave it up because I could see no good reason to continue.

    Thank You

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