Please feel free to comment, correct me if I am wrong, or provide helpful tips of any kind

Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Nov 22, 2009

War on the Wolf?

I have recently learned that the US government has taken the Gray Wolf off  the endangered species list.  It seems almost immediately after that permission was granted to hunt them. Already too many of these Wolves have been  killed by hunters in Montana and Idaho, despite the fact that they have not yet reached a stage where recovery from near extinction is a certainty, or  where  they may be seen and understood as to be overabundant in population.  The time frame of the allowed hunt has since been extended.  http://wolves.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/idaho-fish-and-game-commission-votes-to-extend-wolf-hunt-until-march-31/  In addition I have learned because of the decline in the Wolf population, Elk have thrived, become overabundant and are damaging  the environment by feeding on grasses to the point that soil erosion has taken place and rivers and streams polluted with muck as a result. It seems both the government and the enthusiastic great hunters of the world have not yet learned to research and think before they shoot from their perspective pens and/or guns, or is there more to the killing than just that?

Wolves are not hunted for food, they are hunted due to a perceived threat to livestock,  for their bad and undeserved reputations, for their fur and perhaps to prop up someone's ego. I realize that for some hunting is a way of supplementing their diet. Hunting is even necessary in some instances. This is all good, especially if they are hunting to control the Elk population for example or disease such as rabies, but are Wolves truly such a threat to livestock, and if so how much of a threat?

I would think that this was true only if the Elk and Deer populations were to decline to the point were Wolves were starving and if there was a large population of Wolves in the world.  Most wild life, it seems to me, including the Wolf, tries to avoid human contact.  Fact is there are not even any documented attacks by Wolves  ( healthy Wolves) on humans, unlike Cougars, Bears, and even  the Coyote. So they are not a threat in that regard.  So what gives?  Are we just giving hunters the thrill of something new to hunt, something that is perceived to be extremely dangerous?

I had to know.   So I did a little research.  It seems the Wolf is struggling against more than just merely a bad reputation.  There are people out there who actually hate Wolves to the point that they will put out misinformation about them.  Tall tales are spread in regards to Wolves, such as don't leave your children outside Wolves will eat them, or Wolves breed like rabbits and so on.  I will not claim that there are animals that I do not like very much, because, for instance I'm not very fond of Spiders, but to go to such extreme as to actually set out to eradicate a species ...well it is ludicrous. Anyway here  is the link if you are interested:  http://www.wolfhaven.org/misInfo.php  Further research led to the fact that Wolves are seemingly forever tied to such legends as werewolves, religion with ties to demons and witches, and stories like little red riding hood, originating way back in Europe's history.  All of these ties, legends and stories are based in fear. Again follow the link:http://www.wolfweb.com/history2.html  The conclusion, the Wolf,  like some people is a seriously misunderstood animal, and things need to be set right.  So here are some facts about Wolves: 

Wolves are natural hunters and eat meat, but they will eat other foods as well, like Earthworms, berries and Grasshoppers. Because of the danger from flying hooves and antlers,  Wolves prey on weaker members of a herd of Deer or Caribou, such as old, young or sick animals. In summer, when the herds migrate, Wolves will eat Mice, Beaver, Birds and even Fish. They may also eat carrion. The Wolf is also important to the food chain:

"Wolves take the sick and weak animals such as the older ones,  making sure that the strongest of the herds survive, and so making the herd stronger through this type of selective breeding." At Yellowstone National Park when the Wolf population disappeared, populations of these herds multiplied to overabundance, ended up over grazing the land, creating a food shortages and resulting in the deaths of many animals. "Now that Wolves have been reintroduced the balance is even again."  Wolves will often go for days without food, and then gorge themselves when they make a kill, leaving only scraps for the Ravens.  In fact, Ravens and Crows will often lead Wolves to a food source so that they can share in the kill.

Wolves run in packs, where in only the dominant male and female produce offspring once a year.  The rest of the pack does not reproduce.  The pack size is usually fairly small, with about 12 members.  Wolves also have established territories which control the Wolf population, depending on the amount of available food.  When a Wolf is old enough it may leave the pack to form its own pack or be forced out.  If a Wolf is forced out of a pack it has a difficult time surviving, because it takes a pack to take down an Elk, Deer or Moose.

Wolves are a threat to humans because they are at the top of the food chain and therefore in direct competition with us. This is obviously the source of the fear in regards to Wolves, who have in past been forced to kill livestock because we so very efficiently killed off  most of the Buffalo, a major food source for them.   The Wolf's fur also became prized as a  trophy to signify bravery, and Wolves were hunted merely for sport even when they were of no threat, and so it seems they still are.


Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment