The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition will soon be here, and I hope that you will take the time to attend one of the lectures by Jim and Jamie Dutcher of Living With Wolves. The Dutchers spent six years living with a pack of wolves in Idaho’s Sawtooth Wilderness, and they will share their story and insight into the lives of wolves and their importance to healthy ecosystems.
January 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. Their recovery has been remarkable, not just in Yellowstone but throughout the West.
However, wolves are now under attack just as they were at the turn of the last century. Many Western states have removed wolves from the Endangered Species List and they are being killed in record numbers. A female wolf was sighted on the northern rim of the Grand Canyon a few months ago. It has been almost 70 years since a wolf has been seen in that area. Unfortunately, she was shot and killed.
It has been proven that entire ecosystems improve where wolves exist. Wolves keep coyote populations in check. Bird species improve. All species, plant and animal, benefit from the presence of wolves.
But there are many who would like to see wolf populations reduced and many politicians are willing to listen. The political situation in Washington is the most anti-environmental in years.
There is great concern that any remaining protection for wolves will be removed, even though years of research have proven the importance of wolves in maintaining balanced ecosystems. As Aldo Leopold, conservationist, philosopher and writer, once said; “The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: What good is it?”
Patricia A. Luck