Last week, the Fish and Wildlife commission held a public session to solicit comments about the wolf restoration plans that they have proposed.
Many of the commenters were lobbyists, and yet they acted as if they had never spoken in public before, constantly going over their time limit and rushing their last few sentences. Most of those people used pretty poor science to back their resistance to wolf restoration.
They ignored, for example, the fact that when park rangers reintroduced wolves into Denali National Park, the sheep populations recovered, because the wolves primarily ate rodents, and of the sheep, killed mainly the elderly, sick, and infirm. They also pointed to Yellowstone’s elk and bison populations, and how much they have declined since the wolves’ reintroduction there, ignoring once again the fact that just a few years ago, rangers were expressing concerns about the bison’s health because they were so emaciated.
They also ignored the fact that for thousands of years before we arrived and screwed everything up, all of these species co-existed here; coyotes, wolves, bison, elk, marmots, pikas, you name it.
Among the most memorable statements came from this young lady, 12 years old, named Story, who drew attention to the face that if we don’t restore the wolf population to healthy levels here in Washington, her generation may never have a chance to hear the sound of wolves in the wild.
That made me think of one of the most memorable nights I spent in Tanzania. On our first night in Ndutu, while we sat around the campfire beneath a towering acacia, we could hear lions roaring as if they were right around the bend. It was humbling, knowing that we were in their territory and that there was nothing between us and them but a few trees and hills, and uplifting because they were living wild, as nature intended.
Conservation Northwest has some information about restoring the gray wolf in Washington