The War On Wolves Continues. Wolf advocates we must make our voices heard. By Alex Krevitz, M.A. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Science Editor
In recent years state and federal natural resource agencies have targeted grey wolves Canis lupus, for elimination. Scientific organizations and reputable non governmental wildlife organizations have had their peer reviewed scientific research eschewed by policy makers. Individual scientists have had aspersions cast upon their professional legitimacy for questioning wolf management policies.
The purveyors of the anti wolf misinformation have been affiliated with groups associated with extractive industries, agricultural interests and trophy hunting. Their goal has been a mission to depict wolves as wanton killers of deer and livestock. Their interests have been served by legislators whose campaigns they have funded. Cases before the Supreme Court of the U.S. such as Citizens United and Montana Copper Kings have infused those who seek to exploit public land for private gain often at the expense of wildlife with a source of revenue with which to influence policy makers. Fortunately, the judiciary on several occasions have restored protections to wolves. Justices have characterized the fervent and scientifically unfounded war on wolves as “arbitrary” and “irresponsible.”
Historically, over decades, Americans, in polls and on ballot initiatives, have expressed strong support for banning wolf hunting and protecting public lands. Surreptitious attempts by extractive industries and ranchers to devastate these lands for personal gain have met with massive and vocal public opposition and some plans have been stopped or delayed.
Miraculously, persistent communications to legislators by wolf advocates resulted in the species continued protection. Numerous NGOs and grass roots activists update each other and the public on legislative maneuvers and upcoming votes. Countering large well funded and experienced entities determined to remove wolves from Endangered Species protections is an ongoing task. Certain members of Congress with hitherto positive environmental records have capitulated to their well funded cohorts with opposing agendas.
The current Interior Secretary has elevated the trophy hunting and mineral extraction as top priorities of his department. He has faced skepticism and criticism from scientists, the conservation community and the public. Naturalists at all levels have been appalled by this single minded focus on transforming the Interior Department into a safe haven for those intent upon killing trophy animals and exploiting natural resources on public lands as primary objectives.
Once a species had been extirpated there is no return. The cumulative effects of killing, border walls and habitat destruction is terminal.
So the fight goes on to advocate for our wildlife who cannot protest in their own right. To protect our sacrosanct and irreplaceable natural resources; It is imperative that severe exploitation actions be publicized, and that those who advocate for these destruction be held accountable.
We must make our voices heard as individuals through the media, petitions, at public meetings, using our informed communications networks to rally support. We must all vote. America’s natural resources, including wolves, were protected in the past due to public support. It is incumbent upon all of us to provide that same support for wildlife and wildlands now.
Alex Krevitz, M.A.