“Increased human wolf conflict are due to rise in the wolf population coupled with the lack of state authority to remove problem wolves”.Even though Wolves can maintain populations and are beautiful animals that people say should not be harmed, I think we should be able to hunt wolves because wolves make it hard for animals to stay in one area and roam free and wolves destroy other animals habitats.
Wolves lived in the park for forty years, with claimed increasing nuisance to outsiders. The people around Yellowstone were complaining that the wolves, basically a nuisance to society, were killing animal. Thus after discussions and studies, congress agreed and the wolf extermination began. In 1914, the "Yellowstone wolf extirpation campaign began after congress appropriated funds for 'destroying wolves, prairie dogs, and other animals injurious to agriculture and animal husbandry' on public lands" (defenders). The killing of wolves continued until 1926 when the last two wolf pups of some 136 wolves were killed on a poisoned bison carcass (defenders). The eradication of wolves by hunting and other means soon cleared out most wolves in all areas of the United States. "By the 1940's humans had eliminated red and gray wolves from almost all of their historic range in the contiguous 48 states" (Noecker).
Long before the settlers started to make the United States their home, “American Indians lived long beside the Gray Wolf before settlers started to come here.” (Rowe, Mark) The wolf is native to the North American continent and has been inhabiting its land for centuries. It is a canid species, or member of the canine family and is a cunning, smart, fast, and sly animal. Gray wolves range in color from black, brown, gray, and white and also look like a grown German Shepherd. They are well known for traveling in family sizes from 7-9 wolves, led by the alpha male and have a mate. They are a fierce animal that has been researched extensively because of their unique qualities and that they are near extinction.
The wolf was once a much slandered animal. In the western world, people feared and hated wolves, and this legacy is reflected in stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Boy Who Cried Wolf. In these popular children's tales the wolf is made out to be a prowler and a killer of livestock and people. There is some basis for The Boy Who Cried Wolf, for wolves have killed cattle and sheep. But what of Little Red Riding Hood? There are no records of wolves killing humans in Canada or the United States. Yet, when wolves were spotted near rural communities, fear used to grip the populace, but over time this has become less prevalent.
Also, the government wanted to step in and help the economy, so bounties were set in order to encourage the hunting of the creatures. Communities began to see the "bounty hunters" as heroes, and these men felt as such. The attitude towards wolves spiraled out of control, causing hunts based on vengeance and hatred, and inhumane practices of poisoning, trapping, and torturing began. Even a former governor of Alaska, Jay Hammond, felt that flying in a plane and shooting down hundreds of wolves was necessary to protect the citizens of the state. Wolf furs were coveted, the animals were loathed, and the image of the wolf as a cowardly murderer stuck based on old-fashioned beliefs and legend-based fears. Nothing was done to stop the practices, and the hunts continued to be encouraged, until there were basically no wolves left to hunt (Lopez 139-145). It was nearly too late once the problem was noticed, but the government finally stepped in to address the problem. The wolves were going extinct, and it became clear that the animals were an important part of the ecosystem. The timber (gray) wolf was placed on the endangered species list, and severe consequences were put into action for anyone who hunted the animals illegally. The Wisconsin DNR began a very carefully regulated action plan to reintroduce the wolf to the state, which included radio collars and careful tracking of the animals in order to monitor their progress, as well as make sure they stay in
For the first time in 70 years, the howl of the Grey Wolf is being heard throughout Yellowstone Park (Sanders, 2000). In January of 1995, 14 wolves from separate packs in Canada were trapped and transported to Yellowstone. Once in the park the wolves were placed in one acre acclimation pens. In total there were three pens scattered across the northern portion of Yellowstone: one a Crystal Creek, another at Rose Creek, and the last at Soda Butte. During the wolves time spent in these pens they were fed winter kill, or road kill. The packs that were formed in these pens were released in the winters of 1995-1996 and also again in 1996-1997 for a second release period (Sanders, 2000). In 1995 fourteen wolves were released and in 1996 seventeen were released. In 1997 there were 64 pups born and since 1995, 33 wolves have died in the Yellowstone area.
On May 3, 1995 female wolf number nine gave birth to eight puppies, the first wolves to be born in the park in nearly 70 years. The mother and pups were recaptured and taken back to the acclimation pen, until the pups were weaned (Sanders par. 15). The reason for this recapture was because at this time, this wolf and her eight pups counted for almost 50% of the park’s wolf population. Since this time there have been no other human interventions preferring to let nature take its course on the population.
In “Scared to Death” by Ed Yong and Sharon Levy’s “Wolf Family Values,” we read about the need to protect the population of wolves in North America. These two articles have very different ways to go about this. Ed Yong talks about the wolf effects on elk as well as the rest of the environment. Levy’s approach is about wolf social structure and how it is impacted by hunting. Both of these make some valid points on why more conservation efforts should be made; however, I believe Ed Yong made the stronger case.
-1926 marked the last few wolves being killed however, wolf sightings still occurred occasionally. Scientist stated that even though few wolves may exist populations would not be sustainable.
While researching the gray wolf, I found out that it is actually a very touchy subject in Michigan. The hunting of Gray Wolves has been a very controversial topic. Gray wolves are native to Michigan but were nearly wiped out in the 19th and early 20th centuries by hunting and state-sanctioned bounties. In 1973, when Congress created the federal endangered species list, only six wolves were known to still exist in the Michigan wild, and gray wolves were considered an endangered species. By 2007, the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula topped 500 -- far exceeding the recovery benchmark of 100 set by the federal government, making the Great Lakes gray wolf one of the most successful recovery stories in the history of the endangered species list. The gray wolf actually came off the endangered species list in 2012, but as of December 2014, has been relisted.
The Mexican gray wolf is a large prey that, in the past, preyed on livestock which contributed to their near extinction by humans. However, the decline in the Mexican wolf lead to an overabundance in plant life which had a direct effect on other wildlife. There are many challenges involved with re-introducing wolves to other stakeholders such as to academics, mangers, ranchers, or landowners. It is not as simple as taking the Mexican wolf from where they are now and placing them in different areas in Arizona, New Mexico, the US, and across the border in Sonora, Mexico. This is a very large area of land that policies would have to cover. The best ways to illustrate that this concept is not as easy as it may seem are best described by nature culture dichotomy, social-ecological systems involving ecosystems with people, and the Anthropocene comprised with the idea of humans as agents of change.
California's gray wolf was hunted in the 1920s by settlers who killed them off in order to protect stock raising and use their coats. In 1924, California's gray wolf population went extinct and in 1973, the species was listed as endangered. However, even though there were no wolves known to be in California, last year the authorities added
During the third Gray Wolf hunting season in Minnesota there was a total of 272 wolves killed and this was 22 more than the initial target amount (Kraker, Dan, 2014, December 19). There was a total of over 1,500 wolves that were killed since the authorized Minnesota and Wisconsin hunting season in 2011 (Lovvorn, Jonathan (as cited in Kraker, Dan, 2014, December 19). As of December 19, 2014 Minnesotans cannot legally kill a wolf unless it is in self-defense or a threat to a human life. Because of this new law wolves are protected in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Wolves that reside in Minnesota are under the management of the Endangered Species Act, which is allowing these wolves to replenish in Minnesota. (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 2015) The Endangered Species Act has helped the wolf population over the years and will continue to help them become abundant again.