The Pack is Back

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Kennan Ward photo of wolf
Notecard available from Kennan Ward

The Animal Damage Control defines predator control as “control directed toward less desirable species in favor of more desirable species.”

Are wolves the scapegoat for a decrease in big game such as deer, elk, and moose due to overhunting and natural causes, or are they the ones responsible?

“No way can a small population of wolves have a big impact on either big game populations or domestic animal herds,” says Birkey.

Travis Foley agrees saying, “I fail to see that wolves are becoming a problem. Wolves keep populations from becoming weak.” He added that “wolves are opportunistic predators and they will kill domestic livestock, but so will harsh winters and disease.”

Whether or not wolves are ruthless predators, many guests on both sides of the issue expressed concern over the possible extinction of wolves. “Future generations would not have the chance to make up their own minds about wolves,” said Joe A. Robert Fowler shared the sentiment of many when he said, “I want my grandchildren to be able to hear a wolf howl, a coyote yelp, a bird sing, an elk bugle, and all the other sounds that they can't hear in a city.”

With the dawn of the new millennium, it is still uncertain if the wolves' link in the natural chain of strength and wildness will be allowed to flourish or discontinued altogether.

For now, the court has said that wolves are free to roam, hunt, and gaze over the plains that are Yellowstone National Park. But that gaze is looking toward an uncertain future. It is humans who are ultimately responsible for the vitality of the wolves, and never before has the issue been so split, as the participants in GORP's forum showed. Variables of acceptance, tolerance, and adjustment must be fused with education, preservation of wilderness, and understanding. Will the equation ever be balanced? One can only wait and see.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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