Someone Give Rocky Mountain National Park A Copy of “Thinking Like A Mountain”….

Rocky Mountain National Park would rather allow Park employees to shoot their over-browsing,  over-abundant elk population instead of bringing in wolves to do what they’ve been doing for hundreds of thousands of years, keeping elk herds healthy and in check. The stupidity of this is mind-boggling.

“Rocky Mountain National Park sometimes has so many elk that they overgraze the vegetation, leaving other animals without enough food and habitat. Few natural predators are left there, and hunting is prohibited, so little remains to keep the elk population in check.

The park launched a 20-year program in 2008 to thin the herd by having park employees and trained volunteers under park supervision periodically shoot and kill elk. The program also includes fences to protect vegetation from elk and redistributing some of the animals.”….The Australian

Park Service employees have shot 131 elk since 2008 and even allow volunteers to join in as well. Sounds like hunting in a National Park to me?

WildEarth Guardians sued the park in 2008, challenging their elk culling program. They lost that challenge and appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, who is considering the case.

The excuses the park offers, for not introducing wolves to control their burgeoning elk population, are toothless.

“Officials said reintroducing wolves to control elk numbers was infeasible. They cited a lack of support from other agencies, safety concerns of people who live nearby, expected conflicts between wolves and humans and the amount of attention that a wolf population would require of park officials.”…..The Australian

The Tenth Circuit heard arguments from the US Park Service on why wolves were not an option to control the vegetation-elk-munching-population. WildEarth Guardians countered that the wolf option was never given serious consideration or opened for public comment. The Tenth Circuit gave no hint on when they would rule.

We’re living in bizarro world, where up is down and down is up. Wolves are elk’s natural predator, they keep herds, healthy and strong by culling the weak, sick and old.  Yet instead of reintroducing them to RMNP, the US Park Service would rather have an elk cull/hunt.

Many of our national parks are facing the same fate as RMNP, out of control elk and deer populations, which destroy park vegetation. This is due to LACK OF PREDATORS, mainly wolves, who were systematically slaughtered by the US government in cooperation with ranchers in the 1900’s and are now carrying out the same slaughter in the Northern Rockies and soon the Great Lakes if litigation challenging the killing is not successful.

You would think the Park Service would have learned their lesson by now but oh no. We can’t have apex predators controlling their natural prey. That would be too forward thinking. Instead they opt for the elk/hunt cull. Look to Yellowstone for guidance RMNP and see how the park has been re-born, due to the reintroduction of canis lupus.

Someone give these people a copy of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, where he coined the phrase “Thinking Like a Mountain” and describes it this way:

“Aldo Leopold first came up with this term as a result of watching a wolf die off. In those days of Leopold’s adventures, no one would ever pass up killing a wolf because fewer wolves meant more deer, which meant great hunting experiences. However, when Leopold saw the “fierce green fire dying in her eyes” he knew that neither the mountain nor the wolf deserved this. Leopold stated in his book, A Sand County Almanac:

“Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn … In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers … So also with cows. The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the change. He has not learned to think like a mountain. Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.”

In this example Leopold shows that the removal of a single species can result in serious negative consequences in an ecosystem. While avoiding trophic cascades is one way to think like a mountain, there are countless other environmental actions that can be categorized under this broad and interconnected concept.”…Wikipedia Commons


US Park Service defends refusal to use wolves in Rocky Mountain National Park


From: AP

September 21, 2012 4:54AM


Top Photo: WyoFile

Bottom Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, biodiversity

Tags: Rocky Mountain National Park, closed-minded, over browsing elk herds, National Parks in need of predators, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, WildEarth Guardians, wolves, trophic cascades, Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like A Mountain, A Sand County Almanac

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I will keep drawing these beautiful creatures,the wolves,in hopes that the old adage” a picture is worth a thousand words ” may bring some enlightenment to t hose who are unaware of the plight of our predators.


  2. Obviously they have a need to feel superior over the big bad elk.


  3. Every time someone kills an animal, my heart bleeds.


  4. What is wrong with people. Let the animals live and let nature be itself. I am so tired our our Wildlife Services in all 50 states who mostly is run by idiots. Put the wolves back and stop hunting on National Lands. These lands belong to the animals and all the people not just a few.


  5. Sad. I was hoping reason and good sense would prevail this time. I would think people would want to see wolves, and elk, and a healthy ecosystem in the parks when they visit RMNP.


  6. The US was created through the persecution and killing of its native inhabitants, both its native people and wildlife. The killing contInues to this day with regard to wolves and other vital predators that belong everywhere across the land. We will have to keep advocating, defending and fighting everywhere for all wolves and all natural predators until we prevail. And we will prevail.


    • Oh, and don’t forget Canada. It too was entirely created by the persecution and killing of its native inhabitants, both, its native peoples and wildlife. And the killing continues today, for the Alberta big money interests benefit. And they not only persecuted the First Nations peoples in Canada, but the Russian Doukoubors, as well, taking their children and putting them in residential schools away from their families. They still treat their Native peoples very poorly, worse than the US. And offer absolutely ZERO protections for wolves, bears or any wildlife at all!


      • Missy, you are certainly right about that. The US and Canadian governments, aided by insanely greedy corporations and low life dumb asses in both countries, are in a race to the bottom to see which country can persecute and slaughter more of its wolves and other native wildlife. And destroy more of its wilderness lands, too. Both countries need a new “religion” that respects and protects the Earth and all creatures, great and small. The current belief systems are not working and will end up destroying both countries, through the poisoning of the land and the killing of our souls.


  7. Damn! I am so tired of greed and stupidity. They seem to go hand-in-hand. Wish we could send all these brainless twits who are slaughtering the elk and wolves to the backspittles of Pakistan…where they’d do more good….as targets.


  8. I hope this lawsuit forces the US Park Service and RMNP to conduct research into the possibility of reintroducing wolves into the Southern Rocky Mountains. Gray wolves need to be restored to more of their former habitat before they can properly be delisted for good (please note that delisting does NOT mean that wolves should be hunted).

    I have a book which is entirely about the topic of restoring gray wolves to the Southern Rocky Mountains; it’s called “Awakening Spirits Wolves in the Southern Rockies,” by Richard P. Reading et al. A copy of this book should also be sent, along with Aldo Leopold’s “Thinking Like a Mountain,” to the federal government.

    I just hope that the native Canis lupus nubilus is reintroduced if wolves are restored to the Southern Rockies. My biggest fear over a reintroduction is that the wolves used will be taken from the Northern Rocky Mountains. Canis lupus occidentalis was never native to the Southern Rockies, and I would hate to see the introduction of a non-native subspecies if there are individuals of the native subspecies available for the restoration. I feel that the best location for reintroduction stock would be western Minnesota, but even then each wolf captured must be genetically tested to make sure that it is a purebred Canis lupus nubilus, and not a Canis lycaon or a Canis lycaon X Canis lupus hybrid (Canis lycaon is a completely different species than the native Canis lupus and as such releasing wolves with Canis lycaon DNA into the Southern Rockies would be the introduction of an invasive species, not the restoration of an extirpated native species – and the introduction of exotic species is never a good thing for the environment).


    • CarlaVelosoWolf….Worrying about sub-species and who gets reintroduced where is the least of our problems. When you get right down to it a wolf is a wolf with slight variations in coat color and size. The bigger problem is a possible second extermination of wolves in the lower forty eight due to pressure from the ranching and hunting cabals. (I realize the first time around it was an extirpation, since small pockets of wolves continued to inhabit Northern Minnesota.)

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • To be honest I’m really starting to get tired of the whole “a wolf is just a wolf” stuff. A wolf is not just a wolf. if this was the case then there would be no subspecies designations for the Canis lupus species. The various wolf subspecies are recognized because they are distinctive from other wolf populations elsewhere. I know that the whole “a wolf is just a wolf” excuse is an easy way to deal with the Non-Native Canadian Gray Wolf Myth ,but it is inaccurate at best, and harmful at worst (as the anti-wolf folk will then argue that the Mexican Wolf should not be protected as it is just a wolf, and not anything genetically distinct or unique).

        When people talk about saving certain species, such as tigers, they do not just talk about the species. They talk about saving the various subspecies as well (such as the Bengal Tiger, the Siberian Tiger, and the Chinese Tiger). If a tiger population was to be restored to, say, a part of China, then would it really be wise to use Bengal Tigers if a population of the native Chinese Tiger existed (even if they were only in captivity)? Most people would probably say no. This should be the same case with wolves, especially since they are such a wide-ranging and variable species.

        I understand that the number of wolf subspecies in existence is not universally accepted and that there is a lot of debate over this issue, especially in regards to the American subspecies. But, regardless of which classification of the subspecies is correct, they should serve as a guide to which surviving wolf population is most similar to the population that was extirpated from a particular area (and, as such, which ones would be used for reintroduction). The Southern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf is a perfect example of this:

        Canis lupus youngi, the wolf native to the Southern Rocky Mountains (and of which is now extinct) is nowadays considered to be a part of a much wider ranging subspecies, Canis lupus nubilus. Therefore it should be the Canis lupus nubilus subspecies that is reintroduced into the Southern Rockies. However, not just any Canis lupus nubilus population should be reintroduced. The Canadian populations were once recognized as seperate subspecies (like Canis lupus youngi) and their ranges did not meet up with that of Canis lupus youngi. Therefore they should not be used if it is avoidable. The only surviving subspecies that bordered the range of that of Canis lupus youngi is Canis lupus nubilus (the plains population, the one that this subspecies was originally considered to of consisted of). Therefore, this is the subspecies and population that should be used for a reintroduction. The surviving population of the plains Canis lupus nubilus is in western Minnesota. Therefore, that is where the stock for a Southern Rocky Mountain wolf reintroduction should come from, if it even happens at all.

        I know that this may be complex, especially due to the whole controversy over the number of subspecies in existence, and that it is easier to just say that a wolf is a wolf. But as wolf conservationists, we need to be concerned with not only the survival of the Canis lupus species, but also of the various subspecies and populations that the species consists of.

        Not to mention that restoring the right subspecies MIGHT create a little more tolerance for the species (but I am very well aware that the anti-wolf folks don’t care about which subspecies a wolf is and just don’t want wolves around, period). But still, anything that might create even a little more tolerance for wolves should be taken advantage of (assuming that it does not propagate untrue wolf myths, both negative and positive).

        I definitely agree with you over the concern of a second wolf extermination, though. The only state I’m not too worried about, in terms of sustaining a healthy wolf population, is Minnesota. And Michigan, I guess, since they so far have not stated any plans to drastically reduce wolf populations in the state (yes, they want to start a hunt, but they so far haven’t talked about drastic wolf population reductions like Wisconsin has). Of course, I still worry about the wolves from those two states (especially Minnesota, as a hunt is certain) in terms of animal welfare.

        If the wolf population is drastically reduced nationwide, then hopefully the USFWS will step in and re-list the wolves before they are wiped out again (in the Lower 48 States). But it seems like they just want to get gray wolves off of their hands, so who knows…we can only hope that they step in before wolves are extirpated again.


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