Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Hunting of the Wolf

When the gray wolf population in the Rocky Mountain regions was declared healthy enough to lose Endangered Species Act protection, wildlife-protection groups feared the animals would be subjected to legal hunts. They were right. Idaho has already made plans let hunters kill 100-300 wolves to keep the population in the state to what state wildlife officials deem a manageable number and reduce livestock predation.
COMMENT: There are an estimated 41 breeding pairs in Idaho in a population of about 800 wolves. That doesn't strike me as enough to ensure genetic diversity and allow the population to survive severe winters, epidemics, and other natural threats. Ranchers are already allowed to kill animals menacing livestock. Creating this hunting season seems way, way premature.


omegaman66 said...

The population is well above what the govt said it would be before the wolves were suppose to be removed from the protected list. The population is health and is doing great damage to other animals in the area, such as elk and moose.

A limited amount of hunting isn't going to do any harm. IF the wildlife agencies were to allow too many animals to be harvested then the wolf would go back on the protected list and that would be seen as a horrible mismanagement by the wildlife dept.! It would take the management of the wolf back out of their hands. Neither of these things is something they want to happen. So take a deep breath and chalk this up to something you don't need to worry about. Just be glad... like I am that we again have wolves roaming the wild wild west.

Matt Bille said...

Thanks. I hope you are right about the wolf population. I just wonder if there is enough "cushion" there to deal with hunting + shooting of livestock predators + any unexpected events like a severe winter.