Originally Posted by RTK
One question longrangehntr, Are you a hunter and/or have been an elk hunter for a number of years where these canadian wolves were introduced???
I am a hunter and I have been hunting long enough that ranchers shooting elk because they are eating hay but then say because of the ranchers the elk are doing great so they can shoot however many elk they want rubs me the wrong way. I also have a problem with shooting game animals and letting it go to waste because that is what someone wants to do. they released the wolves on fed land, the local governments could take action against any infringements once the wolves moved off the fed land.
more discussion points:
Defenders of Wildlife instituted a program in Montana and Idaho that paid $5,000 to ranchers to protect wolf dens on the ranchers’ land.
Other conservation groups offer compensation to ranchers for livestock and pet deaths.2 However, expenses add up, especially when government officials are needed to police wolf-prone areas and determine the cause of livestock deaths. Which raises the hypothetical point: how much money is needed to alleviate the stress on a rural family when their pet dog is killed by a gray wolf? How far can money go?
Other measures taken by Federal Government include fencing reintroduction areas and the killing of wolves that step out of bounds of their control area.
The last point raises an important issue; is it legal to kill or capture an endangered species? Hardcore advocacy groups and pro-wolf organizations have taken the matter to court, effectively stalling gray wolf reintroduction efforts. For example:
The law is ambiguous about the capture or kill of endangered wolves.
Lawsuits in Wyoming and the Southwest by environmentalists and the Farm Bureau argue that, in active Federal Government wolf reintroduction programs in Idaho and Montana, the “nonessential, experimental wolf populations” being relocated are not protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) like they should be (the gray wolf is endangered in all states).
Therefore this relocation constitutes a taking (killing, capture, or harming) by the Federal Government.
In active reintroduction programs in Montana and Idaho, the federal government has granted special permits to ranchers that enable the ranchers to kill wolves that attack livestock, easing up restrictions placed on the wolf under the ESA.
A federal judge recently ruled a reintroduction out west as illegal and ordered the killing of wolves to stop.1 Ironically, pro-wolf environmental groups hail this as a victory because wolves are not being killed anymore. Yet reintroduction plans are stalled due to the above legislation, and I believe this is a major step backwards for wolf reintroductions.
Conservationists are debunking wolf myths and fears. On the other hand, some proponents of wolf reintroduction are taking steps to ensure reintroduced wolves do stand a chance. Groups like the Defenders of Wildlife are mobilizing and spreading unbiased information about the wolf, debunking many public myths about the gray wolf. Their hope is for improved education, and for lawsuits and litigation to be avoided in the future.
Unfortunately for many pro wolf groups, this is not an ideal world where gray wolves could return to the land they inhabited hundreds of years ago; and find it uninhabited. One conservation biologist argues that with reintroductions of wolves, the process itself needs to be controlled from people at the local level.
Some biologists suggest wolf protection begins at the community level.
L.D. Mech says there is “no recovery without control.” He proposes control at the local level, which is crucial to the success of an active reintroduction plan in Maine and other states.
Compensation measures and lethal control devices must be instituted at the local level by townships and state or county environmental organizations.
Initiatives that incorporate the studying, protecting, and holding by local native tribes (who own some of the land where wolves are reintroduced) in Idaho have proven that local efforts can work.