The Real Cost Of Forced Wolf "Re-Introduction" Goes Much Deeper Than Just The Loss Of Huntable Big Game Or Livestock Production!
Editorial News/Press Release
February 16, 2015
The Toll That Wolves Have Taken On America
Now that the Northern Rockies Wolf Recovery Project has turned 20 years old, there now seems to be a lot fewer "wolf experts" proclaiming all the great things a recovered wolf population will bring to the intermountain West. Perhaps that`s due to the fact that very little, if any, of the claims, predictions and forecasts made by the wolf masterminds of the early 1990`s have ever materialized, let alone been proven true.
Through the past twenty years, the wolves which were brought into the Greater Yellowstone Area, flown in under the secrecy of darkness from north central Alberta, have simply continued to be wolves – and in many areas the damage they`ve inflicted has been severe. Since the first release of those non-native wolves in Yellowstone National Park in 1995, the apex carnivores have continually whittled down the elk population of the park. Between then and 2013, the Northern Yellowstone elk herd went from as many as 20,000 animals to just a little over 3,000 survivors. The impact wolves have had on that herd, and many others all along the Rocky Mountains up through Montana and Idaho, has practically destroyed nearly 100 years of real wildlife conservation, not only of the elk, but also of moose, deer and other big game.
(Photo Above Right - The remains of a healthy young mule deer buck after a wolf pack had finished with it. Photo taken just outside of Missoula, MT a week before this was written.)
Were those "experts" who were calling the shots and laying out the plan for this so-called "reintroduction" of wolves into the Northern U.S. Rocky Mountains really so non-educated about the damage wolves would bring to other wildlife that the resulting loss of big game herds was simply a miscalculation on their part? Or, did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from the first planning stages of this experiment, have an entirely different plan before the first nonindigenous Canadian wolves were released hundreds of miles south of the U.S.-Canada border?
In many areas of Western Montana and across the northern half of Idaho, wolves and other predators have pulled elk populations down by as much as 80-percent, and in some areas moose have been totally wiped out. While mountain lions and bears have had some impact on those numbers, wolves that hunt in packs are far more efficient, and account for far more elk and moose losses. What angers sportsmen, who used to feed their families with game they harvested, more than anything else is the manner in which state wildlife agencies have supported the claims of USFWS, which violated a number of federal laws and the Endangered Species Act by dumping those non-native wolves right in on top of small pockets of truly endangered native wolves. The larger Canadian wolves quickly eliminated their smaller southern cousins.
With the drastic reduction of wild prey, the wolves wasted no time in turning to domestic prey – sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and dogs.
(Photo At Left - Wolf dines on one of Yellowstone's now "endangered"elk...while the animal is still alive.)
Wolf impact is not only being felt in the Northern Rockies wolf recovery area, that originally consisted of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, but is now also being realized in the states of Washington and Oregon – as the lack of wild prey and expanding wolf populations has caused the wild canids to migrate into new territory. The residents of those two states are now seeing their state wildlife agencies also getting suckered into playing the USFWS wolf game – and will soon see a tremendous loss of big game. In Montana and Idaho, game numbers have gotten so low that the fish and game agencies in those two states can no longer sell enough licenses to fund habitat and conservation efforts, or to adequately fund operations.
Back in the Upper Midwest, across the northern reaches of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, wolves are now delivering a similar death blow to white-tailed deer populations, moose and efforts to re-establish huntable elk populations. As many as 6,000 wolves now roam across the three states, and in many of the once very productive whitetail deer hunting areas, the annual harvest by sportsmen is now down by 50-percent or more, due to ever growing wolf populations. That trend will not reverse itself until 50- to 70-percent of the wolf population has been eliminated, and since a federal judge recently put the wolves of the Great Lakes area back under the protection of the Endangered Species Act, it doesn`t seem likely that will happen.
In Minnesota, since just 2006 the moose populations have declined by right at 50-percent, and any hunting by humans has been eliminated. Perhaps thanks to a lack of real "wolf experts", questionable wildlife managers and biologists went right along with the USFWS claim that the loss was due to "climate change" and parasites. Now, they are at least acknowledging that the growing wolf population in that state is accounting for a far greater percentage of moose losses than wildlife officials have been admitting. In fact, of all causes, including parasites, old age, accidental deaths, collisions with vehicles, and predation, studies reveal that the wolves alone are responsible for more than 50-percent of the annual decline in Minnesota`s moose population. Normal annual losses of a stable moose population is typically 8 to 12 percent. In Minnesota the annual mortality rate is now at an alarming 26 percent.
(Photo At Right - A Minnesota wolf pack on the prowl looking to bring down another whitetail or moose.)
World renowned wolf researcher Dr. L. David Mech says, "My data tends to indicate the problem was there were more wolves. But that doesn`t necessarily mean that`s the only answer. Is there some change affecting moose that allows wolves to take more of them, or is it merely that there`s more wolves?"
Perhaps the "health issues" which wildlife officials still blame for upwards of 40-percent of the losses can also, in an indirect way, be related to wolves. Wolves are known carriers of more than 30 different parasites and diseases, many of which can be contracted by other wildlife, and some by humans. One that can affect moose, elk, deer, and other grazing or foraging game animals, as well as humans, is the Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm. In some regions, upwards of 80-percent of the wolves are infested with these tiny tapeworms, and each time those wolves defecate they leave behind thousands of microscopic tapeworm eggs, which are widely distributed by gentle breezes and running streams.
Game that ingests those eggs, as well as humans who unintentionally get those eggs on their hands and transfers them to food, stand a chance of having hydatid cysts form on internal organs. In game like moose and elk, cysts that form on the lungs reduces lung function and capacity, making it more difficult for these prey animals run for any length of time or distance – making them easier prey for a pack of wolves. By foolishly allowing wolves to over populate, federal and state wildlife agencies have created a very dangerous environment – for wildlife, for livestock and for humans.
(Those cysts on the moose lungs shown at left are filled with liquid and tiny tapeworms.)
In coastal North Carolina yet another ill conceived, poorly planned and out of control "wolf recovery project" is now making a devastating impact on the area.
While the planning for the Eastern Red Wolf Recovery Program started shortly after the Endangered Species Act was signed into law in 1973, the project was not launched until 1987. That year, USFWS released the first captive reared red wolves in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, in northeastern North Carolina – not far from Cape Hatteras. From the very start the project came under fire, primarily due to the impurity of the wolves being released. Raised in captivity, the so-called "red wolves" showed high traces of domestic dog DNA.
In 1991, the American Sheep Industry filed a petition to delist the red wolf, based on that genetic impurity. USFWS found that request unwarranted, and that year decided to introduce their wolf-dog hybrids into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That introduction of hybrid mongrels began in 1992, and in 1993 the first pups were born in the park. In 1995, the National Wilderness Institute filed a petition to delist the red wolf, due to positive nuclear DNA results showing the "wolves" were not pure wolves. Again, USFWS found the claim unwarranted. However, in 1998, the project in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was suspended.
Plaguing the project in coastal North Carolina has been the interbreeding between wolves that were already genetically compromised with an ever growing coyote population. That quandary was created when it was made illegal to hunt or shoot coyotes in the five-county area surrounding the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, in fear of hunters mistakenly shooting a "wolf" for a coyote. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is now demanding that USFWS end the reintroduction of the red wolf in the region and to remove all wolves that were released on private lands. The Commission`s reasoning for ending the program is the interbreeding with coyotes, how the hybrids have impacted private landowners and wildlife populations, and the failure of the project to meet its goals.
(Photo At Right - The red wolves released by the USFWS in North Carolina exhibited compromised DNA, which was further compromised through crossbreeding with coyotes.)
Down in the Southwest, the reintroduced Mexican gray wolves are also running into the same kind of opposition by the residents who have been forced to live with them. Very much like the red wolves used during the releases in North Carolina, the wolves released into New Mexico and Arizona came from stock bred and reared in captivity and are suspect of having strong domestic dog DNA.
Those who actually live where the wolves have been introduced, and those areas in which the USFWS intends to allow wolves to freely migrate, simply don`t want the wolves, or the loss of wildlife and the negative impact wolves have on livestock anywhere there are wolves. Just as stubbornly as USFWS continued to force North Carolina residents to live with mongrel wolf-dog hybrids, and the damage they have inflicted on deer populations and livestock, the agency is bound and determined to have its way in the Southwest. Steps are now being taken to expand the "protected" range of the wolves, to allow them to expand their range naturally ... under the protection of an extremely flawed Endangered Species Act and an intimidating bully known as USFWS.
One New Mexico county has decided to stand its ground. The Colfax County Commission passed a resolution in 2000 that opposes the introduction of the Mexican gray wolf in that county, and in 2008 passed an ordinance making it a crime to import wolves into the county. The county commission acknowledges that federal actions would likely override the ordinance, but felt it was a "strong statement" against having wolves re-established in the county. Colfax County, New Mexico is a major ranching community, with an economy based on livestock production.
(The calf shown at left may have survived an attack by wolves, but more often than not the damage is so severe that the animal must be put down.)
Not one of the four major wolf recovery projects in this country has been beneficial to the region where they are being conducted. The goal of the USFWS has been to create these four core wolf areas, which would strategically allow wolves to disperse all across this country. Inside several of those core wolf areas, the damage already done to wildlife populations and ranching communities is so severe that even if the wolf populations were severely curtailed, or eliminated, it could take 20 to 30 years for a full recovery. In any region, as long as wolves are allowed to over populate, there will be no recovery of other wildlife populations, nor will anyone be able to profitably raise cattle or sheep.
The disaster known as "Wolf Recovery" has already cost the taxpayers of this country upwards of a billion dollars, and the damages inflicted by those wolves have stolen several billion more from this country`s hunters, small town businesses, rural residents, ranchers, and those who enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreation. Many residents of this country now realize that these projects have absolutely nothing to do with wolf conservation, but rather it is the U.S. Government`s way of forcing people off the land and into the cities.
Fortunately, many are now fighting back and shooting wolves most any time they have an opportunity, then going on about their business, and keeping quiet about it. Easily the greatest toll that the idiocy of allowing wolves to rule the land has had is the great distrust Americans now have in our government to do anything right. – Toby Bridges, LOBO WATCH