Wolf Debate

First off, hats off to the Pierce County Herald for the headline. Second, the debate continues over whether to delist the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

Johnson spoke in support of a USFWS rule-change proposal to delist gray wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Wyoming. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, backs the effort, her spokeswoman said at the meeting, held at the Hudson House.

The fact that the gray wolf population has rebounded so much should be celebrated as a successful use of the Endangered Species Act. It worked. Wolves were endangered, we protected them, and now they are plentiful. They are so plentiful, in fact, that we need to manage to population to ensure the survival of other species and to protect the people and their economic interests. The root of the problem appears to be that the opponents of delisting don’t have confidence in our ability to manage a population without eradicating it again.

“I have no confidence in the state of Wisconsin … to manage wolf hunting,” Dobyns said.

And yet… somehow the DNR manages dozens of other species without a problem. This comment brought it home for me:

Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert, a Wisconsin Farmers Union board member, told the panel “I literally beg you” to delist the gray wolf. He took umbrage with a Sierra Club advocate’s comment that only a fraction of a percent of livestock deaths are attributable to wolf attacks.

“Great, if they’re not yours,” Liebaert said, adding how his farm has been stalked by wolf packs. “If they’re yours, it’s a lot more of a problem.”

It’s easy to advocate for an unlimited wolf population from the comfort of your home in Madison where the closest you ever get to one is on the Discovery Channel. For the people who live between packs of roaming wolves, it’s a completely different issue.