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Who’s Crying Wolf? (Page 2)

As the debate about wolf hunting swells out West, the author says the future of responsible wolf management remains far from certain.

Some of the livestock kills have been horrific; for example, in Dillon, Mont., on Aug. 16, wolves killed 122 sheep on the Rebish/Konen Livestock Ranch. Wolves consumed very little of the fresh mutton. Wildlife officials later opted to kill the entire wolf pack.

Jon Konen, one of the ranchers, told The Spokesman-Review, “I had tears in my eyes, not only for myself but for what my stock had to go through. They were running, getting chewed on, bit and piled into a corner. They’d cripple them, then rip their sides open.”
So environmentalists, especially the anti-hunting group Defenders of Wildlife, are indeed crying wolf, say state and federal officials.

What Does the Future Hold?

After Montana’s wolf hunt, environmentalists began using the killing of wolf 527 to raise money to help fund their anti-wolf-hunting lawsuits. To them, the killing of No. 527 is an example of man’s war on nature. For example, in response to a blog by wolf watcher Ramey Channel on the death of wolf 527, in which she called on others to protest the “wolf slaughter,” one person, Joanne, made this comment: “I really love wolves and feel so sorry for them. They always look like they want to come in from the cold and be pets.”

Another person, Nora, wrote, “[Hunters] kill with the excuse that there are too many [wolves].
There live also too many poeple on our planet: don’t we have all the luck?” (The typos are Nora’s.)

Many environmentalists have expressed Nora’s opinion that people don’t have a place in the wildlife’s habitat; in fact, the radical group the Center for Biological Diversity recently began distributing condoms wrapped in endangered-species-themed packages to “raise awareness about overpopulation’s serious impacts on our planet.” (To read how anti-hunters really feel, check out After appearing in National Geographic with a wolf he legally killed in Idaho, Robert Millage put up this blog to show the hate speech he’s receiving from animal-rights activists.)

So the anti-hunting viewpoint can be anthropomorphic, but conversely it can also be anti-human. Their reaction to wolf No. 527’s life story is a case in point. No. 527 left the Druid Peak pack and joined the rival Slough Creek pack in 2005. No. 527 rose in the pack’s hierarchy and bore pups. Later, the pack’s den was attacked by another wolf pack. For 12 days, 527 and probably four of the pack’s other females and their pups were pinned inside their den. A PBS special documented this siege. No. 527 finally escaped. The pups didn’t.

Not long after, 527 left the Sloughs and joined up with a male wolf in an area along Hellroaring Creek. That spring, they encountered a young wolf pair in the area. Wolf No. 527 and another wolf killed that female wolf in her den and carried out the wolf’s pups and ate them.
“I’ve seen a lot out here,” Lyman told the Los Angeles Times, “but I understood why 527 was doing what she did. Because she couldn’t afford to have a pack that close to her territory.”

Lyman and other activists seem able to understand a wolf’s need to defend its food source, territory and right to exist, yet they somehow can’t comprehend that people have these same needs and inherent rights. They actually give wolves, and other wildlife, more rights than humans.
This attitude is making responsible wolf management a constant uncertainty. At press time, a group of anti-hunting organizations, represented by the environmental law firm EarthJustice, was suing the USFWS and state game agencies to force them to again list the wolf in the northern Rockies as endangered. The suit was due to be heard by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy this spring. The decision could go either way. Last year, Molloy overturned a decision by the USFWS to remove grizzlies from the ESA because he felt the decision didn’t take the effect of global warming on grizzlyies' food supply into consideration.

Therefore, the future of responsible wolf management remains far from certain.

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