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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 27, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Wolf control: Protecting crucial species

A gray wolf rests on the Colville Indian Reservation near Nespelem, Okanogan County. Eight conservation groups recently petitioned the state Department of Fish and Wildlife asking livestock producers to exhaust nonlethal measures to prevent wolf depredations. (Colville Indian Tribes, 2012)

Not surprisingly, Jack Field, vice president of the Ellensburg Cattlemen’s Association, reports, “Cattlemen and hunting advocates contend that the northern Rocky Mountains, where wolf hunting is allowed, successful recovery generally mean that up to half the population must be killed to prevent them from decimating cattle herds and other wildlife.” ["Conservationists seek nonlethal wolf controls,” Local News, June 21].

While state Department of Fish and Wildlife and oversight legislators have had the wisdom to maintain endangered species protection for an iconic species whose call in the wild signifies the presence of every other species, and whose reintroduction after 70 years was described by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt: “[it] reconnects our historical linkage with the wilderness that is so central to our national character.” Scores of Washington state residents who strive to see science-based recovery (meaning thousands over a historic range) must deal with the actualization of Field’s ignorant perspective in neighboring Idaho (the core dispersal zone).

There, Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife sanctions skinned wolves as bait to kill wolves, wolf derbies with special awards for children and the use of long-range tactical shooters to splinter families (including pups) throughout the year.

Ironically, indiscriminate taking of the alphas lead desperately hungry youngsters to seek out unnatural prey (livestock). At the same time, it leads to the deprivation of our rightful share of a priceless icon on the public landscape.

Valerie Bittner, Kenmore

Comments | More in animals | Topics: Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ellensburg Cattlemen’s Association, Idaho

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