Judging by their eagerness to kill all the wolves in Washington’s Wedge pack, no matter the cost (helicopters, fuel, rifles fitted with night vision scopes and ammunition can get expensive), it appears that wildlife agencies don’t have their heart into this new-fangled idea of wolf recovery. It’s a shame that state and federal governments don’t have the same dedication and zeal for recovering endangered species that their forerunners had for their part in making our native wildlife, like wolves, endangered in the first place.
In spite of state bounties on predators throughout the 1800s and unrestrained trapping of wolves at the height of the fur trade, some wolves still miraculously survived into the twentieth century in the lower 48. It was a federal wolf poisoning program in the early 1900s, aimed at securing as much prime land as possible for cattle ranchers, which gave the species its last push over the precipice of extinction.
Since then, science has proven (many times over) the importance of wolves to biodiversity and enlightened people have called for the recovery of species essential to healthy, functioning ecosystems. But today’s game “managers” have been slow to adapt.
People who run cattle on our national forest lands should just accept the fact that there’s no guarantee their dehorned, unattended cow-calf “units” (as they so callously consider their animals) will ever be completely safe from natural predators. It’s not like ranchers really care about their cows—they’re just going to send them off to a horrible fate in a slaughterhouse sooner or later anyway.
The wolves of the Wedge pack found their way back to Washington on their own; their kind was here long before humans claimed the land for themselves. Yet game managers continue to side with their cattle rancher cronies, instead of righting a wrong and recovering a species their ham-fisted, anthropocentric predecessors were so keen to eradicate.