Wolves need our help: good management is absent

Wolves need our help

As an apex predator, the wolf is an animal that can play an important role in the ecosystem by ensuring that ungulate herds (browsers like deer, elk, moose, bison etc.) do not overpopulate and deplete the forage on which they depend. The wolf is natures check on another species. However, the wolf itself is an animal that needs to be managed so its prolific breeding tendency and voracious appetiteĀ  (17.5 pounds of meat per wolf per week), does not outstrip the ungulate populations on which it relies.

In modern day America, wolves are no longer needed to reduce huge, roaming herds of ungulates as many environmental changes already limit the populations of deer, elk and moose. Cities and residences now create gaps between continuous, suitable habitat and ungulate populations have adjusted to the available forage. In Eastern Washington other predators, including bear, coyote and cougar also feed on ungulate populations, putting a mild check on the herds.

The introduction of the Gray Wolf to Yellowstone Park in 1997 started a trend in the west that has brought the wolf back as one of the most hated predators. A population of 66 wolves into Yellowstone and 35 into the Salmon River Wilderness in Southern Idaho have mushroomed into an uncontrolled population.These wolves were not the native subspecies that existed prior to the introduction. Their primary recovery goal was to have 10 breeding pairs for three consecutive years distributed among the Northern Rocky Mountain Recovery Zone and remove the wolf from the endangered species list.

We have made the wolf a modern-day monster by failing to manage the population.

map in usEvery dot on this U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service map represents a wolf pack.

As of 2013, there are 1,691 Wolves made up of 320 packs and 78 breeding pairs spread throughout Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington. The territory of these packs directly overlaps on areas that do not have contiguous habitat, but rather are places where people, cities and towns exist. By failing to keep the population under control, we force situations where wolves attack people, livestock and pets as they roam unhindered.

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