The gray wolf has just been de-listed from the Endangered Species list in three states: Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. All three states are already making plans to authorize wolf kills.
It’s a bad idea, turning back the clock on the successful recovery of wolf populations and the restoration of better-balanced ecosystems. Wolves are, at worst, a minor nuisance, destroying a few livestock each year. They are, at best, a critical contributor to the health and diversity of the ecosystems of which they are a part, and, for us, a reminder of a wild and free — and even dangerous — world that is not completely under our thumb.
And that is a good thing! We need to remember that we share this earth with other living things, that we serve God well by serving all creation well, not by tampering with it and taming it and culling it for our own convenience! The wolf is a beautiful and valuable part of God’s creation and deserves better treatment from us.
What follows is an excerpt of a NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) discussion of the de-listing of the gray wolf. You can read the whole report here.
The Bush Administrationâ€™s proposal gives the states a free pass to kill hundreds of gray wolves, just when wolves are making good progress toward recovery. And another loophole would make it possible for states to kill wolves even while they are on the endangered species list: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has also proposed to revise section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act, known as the â€œkilling rule,â€ which would allow the states to eliminate wolves if they are â€œa major causeâ€ of numerical or distributional changes in elk herds. The fact that drought, shrinking habitat, other predators, and human hunting have been found to be the primary causes of elk herd changes becomes irrelevant under this new rule. In effect, wolves can be exterminated for doing what they are supposed to doâ€”maintain a healthy ecosystem by preying on elk.
The federal government has failed to apply sound science to protect wolf populations. For the past five years, the federal government has been aggressively killing wolves, without solving the underlying conflicts with livestock that are prompting the slaughter of numerous wolf packs. After delisting, even more wolves will be killed. Although independent biologists agree that 2,000 to 3,000 wolves are needed in the Northern Rockies for a healthy, viable wolf population, the Bush Administrationâ€™s plan could reduce the number of wolves to as low as just 100 in each state.
For another take on the political motivation for the de-listing “as the settling of an old score,” see Jim Doherty’s article in the Washington Post, Wolves Are Back. Humans Are Howling. in the Washington Post.