Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wolves removed from endangered species list

Bill Scanlon's story in the Rocky:

Wolves proved so resilient in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana that today the US Fish and Wildlife Service removed them from the Endangered Species List, turning their management over to the states, along with the $3 million yearly price tag.

The delisting doesn't affect Colorado, because there have been virtually no wolves in the state since the 1930s, aside from a few cases of individual wolves found the past few years — either their footsteps spotted, or a carcass found on a major highway. . . .

Still, there may come a day when breeding pairs make it here, in which case they'll be treated as endangered species and given all the protection that such a listing entails, F&W officials said in a conference call today.

"The wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains are thriving and no longer require federal protection," Lynn Scarlett, deputy Secretary of the Interior, said during a conference call, crediting the wolves themselves, but also the states and tribes in the area. . . .

She credited the wolves? What was it, like, "hats off to the wolves!" or "those wolves deserve a raise!" or what?

"The expansion of the wolf population has been stunning," said Lyle Laverty, assistant secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks. "It's because of years and years of hard work from academics, consumer groups, landowners, state governments.
Never mess with activist wolf-consumers.
"We're confident the wolves will be in good hands"
(Or, as someone says in comments, "they taste like dog.")
Hall said about a quarter of all adult wolves in the area die each year, either from being shot, run over or other causes. Still, the wolf population has been expanding 24 percent a year, he said.
That seems like an awful lot to mahhhhaggggggggggggghbhh-
hhhgggggghhhhhhhck . . .

Sorry, just Billy Bob, but wolves were reintroduced only in 1995 and there were only 66 of them, facts Scanlon doesn't mention. I'm no lepidoptorist (and neither is my wife, goddamnit), but that seems like pretty good multiplying.
Ed Bangs, Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator for USF&W, said Montana, Wyoming and Idaho all have agreed to make sure the populations in their states never get below 15 breeding pairs and 150 individual wolves.
Just knowing there exists a person going under the moniker, "Ed Bangs, Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, USF&W," gives me renewed faith in America. But Bangs seems somewhat self-contradictorally dismissive about wolves' chances in Colorado:
"The chances of a pair of wolves getting into Colorado are fairly low," Bangs said. . . .

Wolves are "extremely adaptable animals" that can live "anywhere humans allow them to live," Bangs said. Still, "clearly, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have, head-and-shoulders, the best habitat."

Colorado has beautiful wilderness areas, but perhaps not enough sustained unspoiled areas to support wolves, especially in winter when wildlife moves to lower elevations, he said.
He just said they can live anywhere humans allow them to, for pity's sake. They'd thrive here; in fact, they're already here. The wolf Scanlon mentions that was found dead on a "major Colorado highway"? The major highway was I-70, it was the first wolf sighting in the state in 70 years, and it was one of the Montana pack. Odd Scanlon doesn't include that factoid.
Colorado has a plan ready to go if wolves get here on their own, but the US Fish & Wildlife Service has no plans to reintroduce wolves here, Bangs said.
They'll just let "nature" take its course. But if that doesn't do it:
Earlier this week, WildEarth Guardians said it will sue the National Park Service for not giving a fair look at reintroducing wolves to Rocky Mountain National Park as a way of controlling elk overpopulation. . . .
WildEarth Guardians has the requisite run-together words in its name, but where's the exclamation point?
Ron Green of Little Falls, Minn., said, "If the bureaucrats want to trim the elk herd, wolves are the best way.

"If they insist on shooting the animals, then a special hunting season should be implemented, with the tag money going to reintroduce the wolves."
And just who the f#ck is Ron Green of Little Falls, Minn., when he's at home in (consulting notes) Little Falls, Minn.?
But Dr. Myron Goldstein of Morrison wrote that he spends part of the year in Cody, Wyoming, near Yellowstone National Park and has seen wolves destroy too many elk and moose.
Same question, of course, applies to ol' Myron (just substitute Morrison, Colorado and Cody, Wyoming for Little Falls, Minn.)

"The wolf is a very successful predator and not only kills to eat, but kills everything it can," Goldstein said. "The introduction of wolves is a terrible idea. If it is determined that elk populations need to be controlled, then hunting is the best way to do it.

"The idea of introducing wolves to control elk populations is equivalent to putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank."

Too late. Whatever Ed Bangs says, Colorado is going to have a wolf population. Ranchers, environmentalists and property owners will be at each others' throats, and wolves will get in people's garbage and eat the occasional dog, baby or aged adult.

All adding to the variety of life. Somehow.

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