I read an opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune concerning wolves return to the state. It’s been years since canis lupus roamed their native lands in Utah, they were extirpated from most of America, save a few pockets of wolves in Minnestota. But in order to make it to Utah they have to cross the “no wolf zone” in Idaho and Wyoming. No easy task since two wolves, trying to set up shop in Utah, were recently killed for livestock depredation. I always take these reports with a grain of salt because I know and the “wildlife managers” will admit, if asked, that wolves are a mere blip concerning livestock losses. But it always seems to make front page headlines in the local media, because people have a politcal agenda to advance.
The writer summed up their feelings about wolves in Utah this way:
“We sympathize with ranchers in northeastern Utah who fear ongoing losses of livestock if wolf packs take up permanent residence. But we remind them that the state, upon investigation and confirmation that a wolf was the culprit, will pay depredation claims. And we encourage them to explore nonlethal methods of safeguarding flocks and herds, including alarm systems, fencing, lighting and the timely removal from the range of dead and dying animals that can attract wolves.
As for hunters, they’ll have to share their bounty with wolves if the animals gain a foothold here. But nimrods will also benefit from a healthier population of game animals, as wolves cull old, weak and sick specimens and improve the genetics of the herds.
For the rest of us, the return of the wolf promises a welcome return to the natural order — a healthy ecosystem, an apex predator in place, silent nights punctuated by eerie howls. The gray wolf should be allowed to reinhabit its old haunting grounds.“
Basically the author is saying “suck it up hunters and stop whining”. You can’t get your way all the time, wolves belong to all Americans not just you and your cronies in the state game agencies.
Wolves remind us of places wild and free. None of us wants to think everything in the world has been tamed. We need apex predators to do their job and keep ungulate herds healthy and in so doing, bring a wildness to the places they inhabit.
I’m proud to say I live in wolf country. Wolf song piercing the night gives me comfort, I’m lucky to be here where canis lupus calls home. But wolves are threatened by upcoming hunts in Montana, especially in Northwestern Montana, where 122 wolves are slated to die at the hand of a hunter’s bullet or arrow, more then any other area of the state.
I have no doubt, wolves being the tenacious creatures they are, will one day inhabit Utah and hopefully the rest of their native habitat, lost to them by the brutality of man.
Now if only they can run the gauntlet though Idaho and Wyoming.