It was announced last Friday that Wyoming’s wolves would be taken off the Endangered Species List. By the end of September, Wyoming will be allowed to manage its wolf population – a move that many conservationists fear will lead to the death of 60% of the state’s wolves.
Tim Preso, the managing attorney for Earthjustice in Montana told the Los Angeles Times that “Wyoming has a law that says you can kill wolves … at any time of year in circumstances where they’re threatening livestock or pets. The unseemly spectacle we’ve seen at some public meetings is folks who have anti-wolf sentiments have been confirming with state Fish and Game personnel that it would be legal to go adopt a dog from the pound, stake it out in wolf territory and shoot wolves as they come to attack the dog.”
Up until 17-years ago, the Northern Rockies’ wolf population was on the verge of extinction. Once thriving with a population of nearly 2 million in most of the United States, wolves were nearly hunted out by the 1930s. Today, there are just 5,000 in the lower 48 states.
Wolves’ most vocal opponents are farmers and ranchers who fear the predators will take to heavy a toll on their livestock. However, the perceived threat may be more of an emotional fear than a literal problem. In 2007, Wyoming had 1,311,799 cattle and 412,804 sheep. In 2008, wolves killed a grand total of 41 cattle and 26 sheep. Domestic dogs killed 5 times more cattle than wolves. Ninety percent of livestock loss is to weather, disease, and calving complications
Why are we so afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Why do you think our predators are persecuted to the point of extinction time and time again?