The Importance Of Wolves..

How sad this article turned out to be prophetic. Wolves in the Northern Rockies were delisted April 2011, when the US Senate rammed a must pass budget bill through, with a wolf /rider hiding inside. The majority who voted yes were Democrats and Obama signed the bill into law. Wolves were handed over to their enemies and are subject to brutal state management. They were betrayed by the very people who professed to care about the Endangered Species Act and wolves. 


Wolf is unique in maintaining ecosystem health

By kirk robinson

Published Oct 30, 2010 12:00AM
Updated Oct 30, 2010 12:00AM

In his commentary “Management of wolves needs to be left up to the states” (Opinion, Oct. 16), Don Peay argued that the Endangered Species Act should be rewritten to exclude gray wolves from endangered species protection throughout the United States.

This would include all wolves in the northern Rockies and the upper Midwest, as well as the struggling Mexican gray wolf population in the Southwest which illegal killing has reduced to a mere 42 individuals.

The reason Peay gave for this startling proposal is essentially that hunters have a proprietary right to wildlife. They can shoot trophy elk for wall decorations because they buy licenses and pay excise taxes on hunting equipment, but it is unacceptable for wolves to eat elk to survive.

Wolves do eat elk and deer, and occasionally cows and sheep. But surely this cannot be a good reason to discriminate against this one species, excluding it from federal protection at the behest of special interests and in total disregard of science.

Peay asked the Utah Wildlife Board to endorse two federal bills that will do exactly this. And in a meeting on Oct. 19, they obliged him. The seven geriatric white male members of the Wildlife Board voted unanimously to endorse Sen. Orrin Hatch’s S. 3919 and H.R. 6028, endorsed by both Reps. Jim Matheson and Jason Chaffetz. Never mind that there is not a single shred of science to support these bills or that their passage would set an egregious precedent.

There is no other species of animal on the continent capable of occupying the supremely important role of wolves in maintaining ecosystem health. Hunters can’t do it. They don’t alter the behavior of ungulates in the way wolves do (dubbed “the ecology of fear”), and they generally select for completely different classes of animals (robust adults as opposed to small, sickly or weak animals). As a result of replacing wolves with hunters we have deteriorating watersheds, biological impoverishment, and diseases spreading through game populations.

What an irony! The animal species most maligned, vilified and persecuted by human beings turns out to be necessary to the very health of the land on which we too depend.

It is a fact not yet recognized in our lore or our ethics.

Here are more facts:

Coyotes have been documented to kill 20-30 times more sheep and 20-30 times more cows than wolves do, and they eat a lot of deer and elk, too. Wolves will permanently cut coyote populations in half practically for free.

There were 16 percent more elk in the northern Rockies in 2009 than there were in 1995 when wolves were reintroduced.

There are only 1,700 wolves, compared to half a million elk and a couple of million deer, in the northern Rockies gray wolf recovery area, which is larger than the state of Texas.

A recent 10-year study showed that the moose population in western Wyoming grew too large because of lack of predation, and then collapsed almost entirely due to poor nutrition. If wolves had been reintroduced earlier, they might have prevented this.

Wolves occasionally eat a cow or sheep, but wolf depredation accounts for less than 1 percent of total losses in the northern Rockies. In Idaho one year, the numbers of livestock killed by dogs and wolves, respectively, were 1,400:270 sheep and 100:20 cows.

So far as researchers have been able to document, wolves have killed only two people in North America since 1900, while cougars have killed 22 and black bears have killed 61. Dogs have killed 345 people in Canada and the United States since 1982.

Kirk Robinson is executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy.

Published on October 4, 2010 at 4:23 pm  Comments (17)  

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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I voted no!

    It’s heart breaking, so many people have voted yes!


  2. i voted no.


  3. Hey, I was wondering if anybody will be willing to answer a few questions that I have about wolf hunting, protection, management, etc. It’s for my research project.

    1) Is the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Population recovered, and should it be delisted? Why or why not?
    2) Is the Great Lakes Wolf population recovered, and should it be delisted? Why or why not?
    3) Should wolves permanently be protected on the Endangered Species List, only be delisted once they are recovered throughout most of the nation, or have each population/DPS delisted once it recovers? Why?
    4) How do you feel about wolf management in general? Should wolves be managed at all? Why?
    5) Should individual, problematic wolves and wolf packs be removed from the population as a response to livestock predation? Why or why not?
    6) Should individual, problematic wolves and wolf packs be removed from the population as a response to livestock predation when all non-lethal methods of predation prevention have been tried, and failed? Why or why not?
    7) Should ranchers have the right to shoot individual wolves that attack their livestock? Why or why not?
    8) Should ranchers have the right to shoot individual wolves that attack their livestock if all non-lethal methods of predation prevention have failed? Why or why not?
    9) Would wolf hunting be more tolerable if it only occured in areas of wolf-human conflict, as opposed to statewide hunts? Why or why not?
    10) Would wolf hunting be more tolerable if there were more restrictions (shorter seasons, smaller quotas and bag limits, etc.) then there is today? Why or why not?
    11) Should wolves be controlled (lethally) to increase big game herds?
    12) Should wolves be controlled (nonlethally) to increase big game herds?
    13) What if the ungulate population was endangered? Would the responses to questions 10 and 11 be the same, or different? If different, then what would they be?
    14) A fertility vaccine was recently approved for the use on feral horses. If there was a proposal to use it on wolves in areas of human-wolf conflict, would you support or oppose the plan? Why?
    15) What if the vaccine was to be used in an area where game/ungulate populations were low/endangered? Would you support or oppose the plan, and why?
    16) Would wolf control be more acceptable if managers only used it when it was actually needed, such as with endangered ungulates, and not just to increase game populations for hunters? Why or why not?
    17) What is your opinion on zoning?
    18) What is your opinion on compensating responsible ranchers for livestock looses to wolves?
    19) Should states manage wolf populations? Why or why not?
    20) What it the state did not plan on having any hunting season on wolves? Would the answer to question 19 be the same or different? Why?
    21) What is your criteria for wolf recovery? As in, what criteria must be met before you would consider wolves to be recovered (and ready for delisting)?
    22) Should wolves be hunted at all? Is wolf hunting a necessary part of wolf management? Why or why not?

    I may come up with more questions in the future, but for now these are it. I know that some of the questions have obvious answers, but for the purposes of the survey, they are needed. I’m sorry that the survey is long, but please, if possible, take some time to answer the questions in the survey. Thanks!

    Oh, and when I say “management,” I actually mean “management;” it is not being used as a secret codeword for “killing” in the way the anti-wolf crowd misuses it.


    • Wow carla…that’s going to take awhie. Many of the questions can be answered by searching this blog, I think I’ve covered them all at one time or another. I personally believe we need to shift our focus away from livestock and elk when discussing wolves. It just muddies the waters and ties people down to endless debates over non-issues. We would be better served concentrating on the importance of having apex predators in the ecosystem and the positives that accompany that but I’ll answer some of your questions as I have the time.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • You are right; the focus needs to shift from livestock and elk to the ecosystem as a whole. Yes, it is important to prevent wolves from killing livestock, and it is important to make sure that wolves don’t drive elk populations to endangerment (true endangerment, not the “endangerment” hunters claim they are in since hunting them has been more restricted), but they are just two small pieces to the whole, and not the whole itself.

        Please, if you do have time, answer the questions, even if it’s only some at a time (ex. 5 questions per post). The answers don’t have to be too long; just the simple “I support/don’t support…because…” format is all that is needed.

        I’m sure that the answers to some of the questions can be found throughout the site, but I don’t have the time to read all of the posts to find the answers; the essay is due the first Friday of April, and on top of that I have an essay for civics and other homework to do. That’s why I decided to ask these questions upfront. Plus, I want to know what each individual thinks about the issues posed in these questions, not just the group as a whole (aka Can you direct others to the survey, please? Normally I would, but I’m short on time).


  4. Humans are the most dangerous species. They always want to interfere with nature and in many cases, just make things worse. Nature can actually just take care of itself. No wonder these days, nature is getting back at the human population through natural disasters. It’s just so sad that natural disasters are not (yet) selective… wouldn’t it be nice if they only fall on greedy people just like those politicians and businessmen destroying the ecosystem.


    • Amen.


  5. The introduction of the Asian snake head fish to Florida had devastating effects, so have some species of plant life. Taking away a species is probly not going to do our eco system any good. And next time you pet your dog, if you


  6. I wish that more people understood the importance of wolves and other predators. I try to educate people about the importance of predators whenever I can; if more people understood then maybe there wouldn’t be a war on predators right now.


  7. Hello to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more from this site, and your views are good in favor of new visitors.


  8. I definitely say no wolfs did nothing
    But help


  9. Late to the party, but I am curious about the statement made about 2 human deaths…. I was under the impression there were no documented human deaths.

    It’s a tragedy we have such twisted humans that lust for the death of anything wild…..


    • Hi Michael,

      In the last hundred years there have been just two controversial fatal wolf attacks on humans. One took place in Alaska and the other Canada. The Canadian incident was first blamed on bears then wolves, I’m not sure we’ll ever know. The other incident involved a teacher who was jogging. Yet domestic dogs maul and kill at least twenty to thirty people annually and bite millions. Deer caused accidents kill and maim people every year and cause billions of dollars in damage. The wolf is the least dangerous of all the large carnivores in North America but when ever the wolf haters have a chance to demonize them, they never miss an opportunity. Hope that clears it up for you a little.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  10. What а material of un-аmbiguity and preservenes of valuable khowledge оn
    the topic of unexpected feelings.


  11. Thanks for finally writing about >The Importance Of Wolves..
    | Howling For Justice <Loved it!


  12. Research in motion

    The Importance Of Wolves.. | Howling For Justice


  13. I appreciate, result in I found just what I was taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless
    you man. Have a great day. Bye


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