Thursday, December 23, 2010

Save the Wolves from GOP Predators and Palin

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

A bone-headed decision to remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list applies to wolf populations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Idaho and Montana, and parts of Utah, Washington and Oregon. Apparently, gray wolves in Wyoming remain protected under terms of the Endangered Species Act. This 'act' has transferred the 'management' of the wolf population from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to state and tribal agencies. In Idaho -- the wolves have become legal targets for hunters in short order.
Idaho Fish and Game commissioners have already adopted dates for the wolf hunting season in the state and will set quotas once delisting takes effect.

"We have to move on and manage them similar to other big-game animals," Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. "This is good news for wolves, elk, rural communities and hunters. I believe this action will help defuse the animosity and anger associated with wolves when we can manage wolves in concert with our other big game species."

The Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor the delisted wolf populations for a minimum of five years to ensure that they continue to sustain their recovery. At the end of that time, it will be decided if relisting, continued monitoring or ending service monitoring is appropriate.

Idaho governor C. L. "Butch" Otter has said he supports reducing his state's wolf population from its current level of around 800 animals to 100. "I'm prepared to bid for the first ticket [hunting license] to shoot a wolf myself," he once said.

--Lindsay Barnett

Ranchers are apparently the largest group demanding the eradication of Wolves. Especially troublesome are incidents in which the Alpha male is 'murdered'. In Washington state, an alpha male over several generations was killed, his 'pelt' sent to Canada, presumably for 'sale'. Hideous! And --no ---states do not have the right to eradicate any population! Some laws are unjust if not stupid! Alaskan attempts to eradicate wolves are disingenuous and Sarah Palin knows that that is the case. And, in any case, the wolves were there first! What if a law saying that wolves had a right to 'eradicate' were put into effect?

Ranchers have no legitimate complaint. Many have in fact encroached upon 'ancient' habitats and, in any case, they use land owned by the public for 'free grazing'. Anyone getting a 'free lunch' has nothing to complain about. But now --we are expected to turn a blind-eye to the murder of noble animals. In fact, wolves were never a problem until their habitats were encroached upon. As someone who spent much of his childhood on a ranch in West Texas, I can say with some experience: animals are a threat only when we have trespassed upon them. They have rights too!

Wolves also occupy an essential niche in vast, complicated ecosystems.
Wolves are the top predator in most environments in which they live and the trickle down effect of their presence is astounding. In Yellowstone, prior to the wolves' reintroduction in 1995, elk basically roamed wherever they chose and tended to spend most of their time in the river valleys. This excessive streamside grazing prevented willow and cottonwood tree growth along the river banks. But when the wolf returned, the elk quickly learned they couldn't set up permanent housekeeping in the valleys and they moved on to make a living in other areas. This, in turn, allowed young trees to grow along the riverbeds. The new trees shaded the river water, creating improved habitat for trout, which thrive in cooler, darker waters. The new willows and cottonwoods attract additional migratory birds and provided new food sources and building materials for beavers. The beavers then built dams which created new marshes and wetlands that in turn attracted otters, ducks and other species.

Wolves provide tremendous economic benefits

Ecotourism is quickly moving to the forefront of family recreational activities. The longing to see animals in their natural habitat has created an economic boom throughout the United States. In Yellowstone, fishing has always been a big industry and the improved environment along the river caused by the wolf's presence has improved fishing opportunities. The wolves themselves are also a huge tourist draw, with many people making Yellowstone their vacation destination expressly for the purpose of seeing wolves. Indeed, most sunrises in Yellowstone are accompanied by rows and rows of nature lovers with spotting scopes, all straining for a glimpse of the elusive wolf.

Wolves pose little threat to livestock and humans. In fact, their prey of choice has been wild game like deer and elk for centuries. The same is true for human/wolf interactions. Despite claims by wolf opponents, the fact remains that aggression by wolves against humans is a very rare event.

--Benefits of Wolves : The ecological and economic benefits they bring
The only justification for killing of animals is for food! However, no one has ever said that wolf meat is going to make any difference whatsoever to those who go hungry because the GOP has transferred vast amounts of American wealth upward to a ruling elite of just one percent of the total population. The greatest threat to those who may be near starvation is the GOP --NOT the noble wolf! Again --the American right wing, the GOP in particular, is not only wrong but dead wrong and wrong-headed, and, at their very core, stupid, evil and --charitably --misguided!

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