Geography in the News: Wolf Controversies   2 comments

Yet another old article featuring the controversy between man and wolf! I’ve been doing some research and came across a couple of older articles and felt the urge to compare the situation “then” with what is happening today.

Posted by Neal Lineback of Geography in the NewsTM on December 14, 2013

Who’s Crying, “Wolf?”

Wolves remain one of the American West’s most controversial species. Hardly a week goes by without a newspaper article describing conflicting issues about wolves across the West. Any discussion of the management of wolf populations and geographic ranges brings criticism from all sides of the issue.

When the wolf was “delisted,” or taken off the Endangered Species Act (ESA) list in 2009, a battle began. The fight is between a coalition of livestock and hunting groups and an alliance of environmental and animal rights groups. The issue is over how to manage the West’s healthy wolf populations and whether states should allow wolves to be hunted once more.

The grey wolf, Canis lupus, is the largest member of the dog family. Wolves likely originated during the Late Pleistocene about 300,000 years ago. While once found in any ecosystem on every continent in the Northern Hemisphere, wolves were hunted to near extinction by the early 20th century.

When European settlers came to North America in the 1500s and 1600s, wolves were living both in the forested areas and on the plains. Early settlers, fueled by a traditional European hatred of the wolf, began eradicating the animal using firearms, traps and poison. Authorities offered bounties to anyone bringing in wolf hides or other parts of dead wolves.

An all-out war against the wolf began when people began to settle the Great Plains in the 1800s. The enormous herds of bison that served as food for the wolves helped keep the pack numbers high in the region. When hunters decimated the bison populations in the mid-1800s, however, the wolves turned to domestic sheep and cattle as prey, bringing greater pressure on their numbers.

During the last half of the 19th century in the western United States, as many as two million wolves were killed. The U.S. government supported complete annihilation of the animal and passed a law in 1919 that called for eradication of wolves on federal lands.

By the time the law was repealed in 1942, another 25,000 wolves had been killed by the government plan. The wolf remained nearly extinct in the American West until the species gained protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1974.

When, in the 1980s, a small number of wolves migrated from Canada into Glacier National Park in Montana, talk of reintroducing the animal to the region began. During this time, ecological research was showing that wolves and other predators play critical roles in maintaining the ecosystems to which they belong.

After several years of study, public comment and controversy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided in the early 1990s to reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. Over the last 20 years, wolf populations have grown and packs have flourished, spreading out from Yellowstone and onto adjacent range land.

Today, ranchers in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming find that news disturbing and fear loss of livestock to wolves. Big game hunters are also lobbying for less wolf protection, fearing elk and deer predation by wolves. Many feel that states should allow wolves to be hunted just as bear and mountain lion hunting is allowed. On the other side, environmental and animal rights groups argue on behalf of the wolf, seeing its presence as necessary for the ecosystem and worrying that too many wolves will be killed.

gitn_1038_NGS Wolf

Source: Geography in the NewsTM

Research in three states of the Rocky Mountain West shows that wolf populations have completely recovered and no longer need ESA protection. According to an article by Ed Bangs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Oct 2009), wolves in the modern world require management to minimize conflicts.

This management may include public hunting of wolves or not, but Bangs stresses that it will involve killing wolves to keep their numbers in check. If hunters and ranchers are not allowed to hunt wolves, then controlled kills will be necessary to maintain healthy wolf numbers and control their conflicts with domestic livestock. The management goal is to find the most efficient, least expensive and most socially acceptable methods of dealing with wolves, while also further enhancing wolf conservation.

And that is Geography in the NewsTM .

Sources: GITN 1038 Crying “Wolf”, Apr. 23, 2010; Bangs, Ed, “Wolves, Elk, Science and Human Values,” Bugle, Sept/Oct 2009, pgs. 79-82; http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/04/hunters-or-hunted-wolves-vs-mountain-lions/; and http://www.hpj.com/archives/2005/jan05/jan17/Wolvesthriveadecadeafterrei.CFM

Co-authors are Neal Lineback, Appalachian State University Professor Emeritus of Geography, and Geographer Mandy Lineback Gritzner. University News Director Jane Nicholson serves as technical editor.

Geography in the NewsTM is solely owned and operated by Neal Lineback for the purpose of providing geographic education to readers worldwide.


Source

2 responses to “Geography in the News: Wolf Controversies

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Reblogged this on Kate McClelland.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Quill & Parchment

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Hurricane Willem nu je hier bent. Welcome to the blog of Discobar Bizar, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Hurricane Willem whilst you are here!

Wonderland By Russell Strand

Follow Us @wonderlandb3

Aditya's Birding Blog

Because we will conserve what we understand...

4THEBEEZPLEASE

ANIMALS IN THE NEWS

Lone Wolf Breathes

Lone Wolf Breathes Words In A Blog

Building The Love Shack

This is the story of building a cottage , the people and the place. Its a reminder of hope and love.

Nomad Advocate

Adventurer. Humanitarian. Advocate.

Your Everyday Coffee Blog

Your thoughts while having coffee

Australian Business Network

Latest updates of local businesses and professional service providers in Australia.

The Bold Mom

BOOK PROMOTION

World Tourism Forum

Travel Tips & Most Popular Tourist Attractions

%d bloggers like this: