Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began the process needed to put wolves back on the endangered species list, reports the LA Times on Sunday.
So what happened? Just what many of us feared. In a bare six months so many wolves have been shot by hunters seemingly gone wild with wolf blood lust, that the Feds felt they had no choice but to step in.
It was a stunning reversal in what wildlife biologists had hailed as a success story. The species had flourished, its population growing by about 20% a year since wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995. This was proof the Endangered Species Act worked, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said when it delisted the wolf in March.
In July, federal District Judge Donald Molloy issued an injunction against the state wolf plans, after a challenge by environmental groups. He questioned whether indiscriminate killing would reduce wolf numbers back to crisis levels. He also said the hunt could isolate packs of wolves, reducing the species’ gene pool.
Some wildlife biologists say the damage is already done. Nearly all of the known wolves in Wyoming’s free-fire area were killed in little more than a month. Recent estimates show that the wolf population in the three states began to decline for the first time in more than a decade even before the hunt.
I’m not at all surprised by this news. Just sickened.
Look, I get the point of view of ranchers who’ve lost stock to wolves. (Although according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, coyotes, dogs, mountain lions and vultures kill more cattle than wolves. But, whatever.)
Yet why one is driven to hunt and kill a wolf for sport is beyond me. Especially in such numbers.
Especially like this:
[Rancher Merrill] Dana thinks he knows the details of the last wolf kill, on May 2. He believes the hunter was a young man who tracked a female for 70 miles on a snowmobile in and out of dense stands of trees.
“She was a loner who was plumb lost,” Dana said of the wolf. “All her mates were gone [killed]. The kid was going through sagebrush and fences and trees. He tore up an $8,000 snow machine.”
Yeah, that’s really manly. A real sportsman.