As usual, it was a mixed bag in wolf news this week. So here’s the good, the bad and the … ridiculous.
Bad news first. Despite a tremendous response from Defenders supporters last week (who sent more than 55,000 responses to congressional offices opposing wolf legislation), many Montanans still want to strip federal protections from wolves. A recent poll published by Montana State University-Billings signaled that support may be slipping for protecting wolves under the ESA. That’s even more reason to get wolf supporters to speak out on behalf of protecting wolves for the future. The silver lining is that a plurality of young voters still support keeping wolves on the endangered species list.
A Bozeman Daily Chronicle editorial also mischaracterizes the ongoing problems with wolf management and finding a durable solution. Yes, wolf recovery has been a success on the whole, but that could easily be undone by current plans to kill hundreds of wolves across the region. The Chronicle’s editors need to hear from wolf supporters who want wolves managed based on science, not politics.
Now for the good news. Kirk Robinson, a colleague with the Western Wildlife Conservancy in Salt Lake City, Utah, got an excellent op-ed published in the SLC Tribune. Kirk explains why federal legislation to remove protections for wolves is the wrong approach. More importantly, he takes anti-wolf advocate Don Peay (head of the extreme group Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife) to task for prioritizing hunting over the conservation of all wildlife. He goes on to highlight the critical role that wolves play in regulating ecosystem health and he debunks common myths about the relative impact of wolves on livestock.
Fortunately, other hunting groups are starting to take a more moderate approach. A coalition of seven organizations had their letter published in the Missoulian denouncing statements about poaching and calling for a return to the conservation ethic. Hopefully this begins a new chapter in finding common ground between hunters and wildlife groups.
And finally, Carharrt clothing outfitters is running this ridiculous ad showing wolves attacking three guys around a campfire. Keep in mind that the wolf “stars” are trained captive wolves that regularly appear in movies. Wolves in the wild almost never attack humans. Check out this post from Wolf Awareness Week to learn the facts about wolves.