As usual, Amaroq Weiss has blown out of proportion a part of the Revised Wolf Plan that allows for specific lethal removal of a wolf or wolves who have been deemed chronic depredators. The rewording of this section of the Plan has very little change from the previous one. There is a long and rigorous process of determining if a wolf pack has not only become chronic depredators of livestock, but if there is value in removing those wolves depending on the frequency, location, structure of the pack, potential for continuing depredations, etc. Then the request will now go through a regulatory process to yet be determined by the Wolf Commission, before a person will be assigned to lethally remove those wolves.
The fear that this process will lead to the legalized trapping or hunting of wolves in a way similar to the state of Idaho is so farfetched it’s to the point of ridiculous. The Plan also emphasizes the use of non-lethal deterrents and requires them before consideration of removing wolves. The Plan still has in place in Phase 3 (which we are in) the ability to shoot wolves ONLY when they are found in the act of chasing or biting livestock or guard dogs. Since most attacks occur at night, it’s a rare opportunity to actually catch the wolves ripping apart an animal before it’s even dead. Plus the criteria placed on ODFW employees to determine if a kill is wolf caused, is quite complex and requires the presence of enough leftover tissue from a scavenged animal to find tooth impressions, scrapes, pre-mortem hemorrhaging and evidence from the site before a kill is confirmed, resulting in many being called probable or other/unknown with no recourse by the rancher for compensation.
What is striking is the absence from Ms. Weiss and Ms. Adkin’s articles in the Chieftain is their concern for anything except the survival and spread of the wolf itself. No concern for the safety and welfare of our rural citizens who are the ones most affected by the wolf being allowed to propagate within our state. No concern for people visiting our county who travel into our forests and campgrounds in remote areas who could be contacted by a wolf pack intent on satisfying their hunger. No concern for children on ranches who could be caught outside and easily become prey for a pack. There is ample evidence that in our pioneer past, full grown men, even those carrying weapons, have been taken down by wolves. I.E. Wikipedia: Wolf attacks on humans in N. America. The myths about how beneficial wolves are, can be blown apart by the very science that these promoters of wolves claim as fact. Yet they deny the expertise of those like Valarias Geist, Professor Emeritus with the U. of Calgary, who have hammered the point that wolf genetics will be lost forever if wolves are allowed to live in close proximity to humans, interbreeding with dogs and coyotes. We are already seeing this happening in our county with wolves coming into barns, animal enclosures, pastures close to Joseph, confined dogs, and even the killing of some dogs near rural homes. Wolves habituate to people and will become braver about approaching people. Don’t mistake this for an outreach of friendship. If you do, you may be their next meal. The fact that wolves carry up to 35 diseases, some of which they can spread to domestic dogs, is something they and ODFW have not found an issue to warn people about. Research echinococcis granulosis and the cysts that can develop in deer, elk and people.
The overreach of people like Weiss and Adkins in pushing for wolf populations without considering the impacts on rural communities, human safety, economics, game and prey animals and the future is appalling. The future of this county is on the line, and wolves must be contained for the higher good.