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Alyssa’s Den: Why Wolves are Important

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Alyssa’s Den

dsc_0107-103x300Wolves need our help now more then ever. We need wolves back on the Endangered Species list! There used to be 200,000 wolves in North America. Now fewer than 1,200 remain in the wild in the Northern Rockies. The Gray Wolf is fighting its way back from near extinction and its current population isn’t even half as large as it’s previous population. This is much too small a number for wolves to thrive and have great biodiversity.

Ranchers say that wolves are killing their livestock, but wolves are really only responsible for about 1% of livestock loss. Disease and harsh winters are the two biggest killers. And there are other predators, too. If you take out the wolf, then you will need to take out the bears, coyotes, cougars, eagles etc. to protect the livestock. How can a single group of people decide what species to exterminate and which ones to keep? Think about a tower representing the ecosystem. Each carefully placed brick represents a species of animal. If you take away a brick, the whole tower could collapse. We share the Earth with these magnificent animals. It is not for humans to decide which forests to destroy, which species to eradicate, etc. These animals have inhabited these areas for a countless number of years. It is the ranchers who are invading their territory. The Native Americans were able to peacefully coexist with all animals, so why can’t we?

Wolves are very smart. there are ways to keep wolves away from land without having to kill them. You can play sounds of howling wolves to keep them away – wolves are very territorial. You can also scare them with loud noises, moving things, etc. Most importantly, if you kill a wolf, how will it be able to bring the message to the pack that a certain area isn’t safe?

Hunters believe that wolves are responsible for there not being enough elk to hunt. There is a balance in nature that is always changing. There has never been a case where predators have hunted out their food source to depletion. Wolves aren’t always successful when they hunt. Sometimes wolves are injured or killed when hunting their prey. This is part of the balance. Wolves keep the herds of elk moving which is a really good thing. The left over carcass also provides food for many scavengers.

Some people might think I’m a vegetarian, but I am not. And I’m not against hunting for food or other survival purposes either. I have a lot of hunters in my family and may hunt too when I am older. Some years we have venison on the table or in the freezer and sometimes we don’t. They are not always successful because hunting is not easy and that’s how it should be. We don’t have wolves in Rhode Island so you can’t blame their unsuccessful hunt on that.

Wolves belong long on this Earth and shouldn’t be eradicated just because people are misinformed or because of people’s fear of them.

Alyssa’s Den Sept. 17, 2011

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