Cages designed to protect children from Mexican gray wolves at New Mexico’s bus stops have come under fire for demonizing the endangered animals, which have never attacked anyone in the state.
Environmentalists argue the wooden and mesh cages erected in the town of Reserve a decade ago are only furthering the misunderstanding of the animals, their behaviors and the dangers they pose [not to mention making the people of Reserve look really silly.]
But supporters of the cages – including residents and conservative anti-government organizations – insist that the animals, which were reintroduced to the area in 1998, pose a very real threat.
The debate has resurfaced because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to extend Endangered Species Act protections for around 75 wolves left in New Mexico and Arizona.
The approximately 20 cages in Reserve were installed on the orders of Reserve Independent Schools, Catron County Sheriff Shawn Menge said.
The FWS is also seeking to make it illegal to kill wolves in most situations and would greatly expand the area where wolves can exist without interference, FoxNews.com reported.
To many conservatives in the area, the proposals are simply examples of meddling government officials who do not know what it is like to live with wild wolves.
But Eva Sargent, director of Southwest programs for Defenders of Wildlife, said that keeping the cages was politically motivated, rather than based on safety concerns.
While there are some – albeit few – reports of animals attacking livestock, they rarely attack humans. Even with the livestock, domestic dogs kill 20 times as many sheep as wolves do, data shows.
‘There’s been absolutely zero, nada, zilch attacks on humans by wolves in the Southwest, so I think these cages are a reaction to a non-problem,’ Sargent told Fox.
‘For some people, it’s a political ploy to bring attention to other things. A lot of the fear stirred up by these kid cages, at the base of it, is an anti-government fear and the wolves are standing in for that.’
Yet, still residents in the West say the decision should be up to them, not Washington. ‘The wolf is symbolic of a larger fact,’ David Spady, the producer of an anti-wolf documentary told the LA Times. ‘The federal government is running roughshod over private property rights.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2479999/Cages-built-protect-kids-wolves-New-Mexico-bus-stops-demonizing-endangered-animals.html#ixzz2jExLvkAG
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