Seventy-seven wolves have been taken down in Idaho and Montana so far this hunting season, an event put back into action due to their federal delisting from protection by the Endangered Species Act. So far 36,000 hunting wolf licenses have been issued in the two states. Conservation organizations like the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Wildearth Guardians are taking legal steps to try to stop the hunts.
Anyone who has been following the wolf situation in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming knows the main reason they were delisted was due to politics in Washington that attached a rider to a larger, unrelated piece of legislation that was passed. In other words, the members of Congress who passed the legislation are not biologists or ecologists who understand the role wolves play in natural habitats, they were just playing the politics game to get votes for their own interests and careers.
Locally, attitudes amongst some politicians, who seem to represent the interests of ranchers and farmers more than the whole population, are sometimes just as unscientific. Idaho’s governor said, “We didn’t want them here at all,” meaning some were against the re-introduction of any wolves ever. (Source: mtexpress.com) The re-introduction of wolves to the Yellowstone area actually increased revenues from tourism. A study from the University of Montana found wolves now generate about $35 million in tourism revenues each year.
The number of wolves in Idaho that might wind up deceased from this year’s hunt could actually be a major setback to all the work the biologists have done to bring them back. In August it was reported the hunt might not establish any upper limit on the number of wolves that could be taken.
Given the hysteria, fear-mongering and overzealousness of some hunters, there was a concern that 80% or more of wolves might be shot, just in one year. None of this potentially very destructive activity is based in sound science.
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