Sunday, March 10, 2013

Saving the Wolves...

Brad Hill a nature photographer and biologist has taken up the crusade to protect wolves.   A resident of British Columbia, Hill recently discovered that wildlife management officials in Canada are using neck snares to trap and kill wolves.   These snares usually cause very painful and prolonged deaths for the animals that they trap.   The snares were banned by an international treaty for the humane treatment of animals.   Canada is a signatory member of the treaty and is using the snares in violation of that treaty.   Mr. Hill has started a petition to get the Canadian government to stop using the snares and to protect the wolves.  At the bottom of this post, I have left a link for you to sign the petition too.   Please consider taking five seconds out of your life to help these amazing animals.

This issue has caught my attention because the U.S. has recently allowed individual states to start hunting wolves again.   All of the wolves around the Yellowstone ecosystem and elsewhere are now in danger of being shot and killed.   This has been done  primarily to appease ranchers who have lost livestock to the predation of wolves.   What irritates me is that this new policy was sneaked in as part of our December budget deal.   In order to save our country form the fiscal cliff, our legislators felt it was necessary to shoot some wolves.   I am sure that saved us from financial disaster!

In a recent radio interview, award winning wildlife cinematographers Jim and Jamie Dutcher discussed the problems that come from hunting wolves.   They stated that most of the predation on livestock by wolves occurs from weak packs or singular animals.   They claimed that when packs are strong, they hunt elk, moose, bison and deer.  When a pack is weak, it can be tempted to go after easier prey like cows and sheep.   They discussed that when members of a pack are killed, the pack goes into mourning and often it is split into smaller packs that are less able to kill the large ungulates that they prefer to eat.   In order to survive, the weakened packs then turn to preying on livestock.   Why then are we allowing hunters to shatter these packs?   Doesn’t that lead to an increased risk of farmers losing their livestock?

I must admit that I live in New England where we worry about coyotes eating our cats.   Wolves are thousands of miles away.   They do not cause me any problems.   Most of my limited experience with wolves comes from zoos.    My favorite moment was listening to a wild pack in Yellowstone calling to each other at dawn.   What a thrill that was!

I do sympathize with ranchers that lose their livestock.   I have no problem with the federal government reimbursing farmers for lost or underweight livestock due to predation by wolves.    I don’t mind my taxes increasing to protect the wolves.  

There is plenty of room in this great world of ours to have ranchers and wolves.   If a pack does start praying on livestock, then that pack should be removed or maybe even killed.   However, I truly believe that they should not be hunted for sport.   Leave the wolves alone unless they are proven to be preying on livestock.

Many bioligists agree that wolves are important for the overall health of bison, elk and deer herds.    Wolves tend to prey on the weak and diseased animals, which in turn keeps the herds more healthy.   Ranchers worry about bison and elk leaving Yellowstone and infecting their cattle with brucellosis.   According to the Wyoming Sierra Club, wolves can help reduce the amount of animals that have brucellosis.   Why not work with wolves instead of against them?

If you believe that wolves should not be inhumanely trapped in British Columbia, please read Brad Hill’s article and sign his petition.   Here is the link for his article “Wolf Snares in my Backyard”    Here is the link to go directly to his petition

The image accompanying this post was made  in a controlled situation at the West Yellowstone Wolf and Grizzly Discovery Center

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