Sacrificial Wolves

“In May of this year on the northern border of Yellowstone, a wolf-hating rancher lured another pack of Yellowstone wolves out of the park to his ranch. He baited the wolves by setting out sheep carcasses on his property. The rancher waited until park wolves showed up and opened fire, killing a black two-year old female, who had been born and reared in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley.

Wolf walking through grassIn the past two years, since the Obama administration shamefully gave the green light to legal wolf hunting in the Yellowstone region, fourteen of the Park’s wolves (about 12 percent of the total population) have been shot or trapped outside the park’s boundaries.

The decision was shameful because we now know the decision to delist the wolf was motivated solely by politics not science. The review panel met in secret with Democrats from the state of Montana who vigorously pushed for the delisting, which they argued would be a crucial factor in tight senate and gubernatorial races. Meanwhile, ecologists who objected to the plan were ignored and three scientists on the review panel who were viewed as “pro wolf” were summarily removed.

The consequences for wolves and the integrity of the Endangered Species Act itself have been grim. In Yellowstone itself, the wolf population is in free-fall. Ironically, wolf populations in the park hit their high point during the Bush administration, with a count of 174 wolves in 2003. When Obama took office in the winter of 2009, there were an estimated 146 wolves in Yellowstone. That number has declined sharply each year. This year the park’s population has fallen to 70 wolves, marking a more than 50 percent reduction in Obama’s four years in office.”

–Jeffrey St. Clair, “Sacrificial Wolves”, Counterpunch (10/15/2013)

( Read the full article at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/25/sacrificial-wolves/print )