Letter to the Editor: Hatch’s editorial misleading

mexican wolves in utah
Mexican wolf, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of mexicanwolves.org, St. George News

Senator Hatch’s recent editorial, “Mexican Wolves don’t belong in Utah’s Dixie,” blasting Mexican wolves is misleading. He implies that there’s an immediate plan in motion to drop 250 wolves into northern Arizona and Utah — when in reality a decision on whether there will be any wolf reintroductions, anywhere, is years away.

Wolves once widely roamed across the region, but by the early 20th century they were nearly wiped out. Today, there are only about 55 Mexican wolves left in the wild in the entire world. In order to recover the species, scientists are looking for remote lands in the Southwest that can both support wolves and benefit from their return.

But this is a long process that takes a number of years. And the public, including politicians like Hatch, will have plenty of time to weigh in before any actual plans are made. As a senior statesman, it’s disappointing to see Sen. Hatch pandering to the anti-wolf zealots in his state.

Eva Sargent, Ph.D is Defenders of Wildlife’s Southwest program director, Tuscon, Ariz.

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  • curtislb October 31, 2011 at 6:56 am

    To express concern over the possible placement of wolves in an area they never inhabited sometime in the future is not “pandering” to the anti-wolf crowd.

  • Ralph October 31, 2011 at 7:40 am

    It is has been well documented that Wolves were released into Montana and Idaho by government wildlife agents long before they let the public know. You might as well put your head in sand if you think the government stopped acting that way. For all we know there are already experimental pairs of mexican wolves on the groung in Utah and N. Arizona.

  • Ross November 1, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    I support this op-ed. I’m so sick of politicians fear-mongering and spreading misinformation. It’s so frustrating seeing wolf (and carnivores in general) haters proclaiming that wolves are somehow unnatural and horrible for wildlife. Good thing we all but wiped them out when we did in the past 100 years, when they’ve been effecting evolution on their own for millions of years! *sarcasm*

    It all boils down to this: hunters have been able to hang their hats on saying that they’re doing the work of nature keeping wildlife numbers in balance after the carnivores have been decimated. When carnivores come back, and start fulfilling that role again, the hunters find themselves with unwanted competition, can no longer kill as much as they used, and have their claim of being conservationists dampered. So now they say carnivores are “devastating” wildlife numbers, which may be true only if they insist on being able to kill just as much as they did before the carnivores came back. The rancher’s argument is much the same: anything that could possibly affect their (already slim profit margins, even with the massive government subsidies they receive) won’t be tolerated. But the truth of the matter is outside of the hunting and ranching circles: more people support wolves (and other carnivores) than don’t, and so they need to learn how to co-exist. Especially if they’re using PUBLIC lands for grazing and receiving TAX-FUNDED subsidies.

  • joseph murray November 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    The art of war?? Mr Hatch’s Has planted a farmer’s unwrittern law… Get rid of them before the do gooder’s get here/ or your land will be wolf country(dogs)

  • Rich Ash November 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    We should be trying to help to save the wolf not hurt them.

  • joe varga November 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I am unsure why you (curtislb) say, “an area they never inhabited”… they once roamed across almost all of the south western US. (http://www.mexicanwolfeis.org/about/range/) (http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/natural_history.shtml) and (http://www.fieldtripearth.org/article.xml?id=1113). On Monday, October 31st 2011 (or 4 months from now), the human population of the planet earth reached 7 billion (7,000,000,000) (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/world/united-nations-reports-7-billion-humans-but-others-dont-count-on-it.html). I would say that we are crowding the wildlife, not the other way around. Wolves do provide a valuable service as predators by keeping herbivorous wildlife populations down. Exploding deer and rabbit populations eating your garden and landscaping would not be any better for you. Worried about your children? Teach them as much as you would protect them and they will be fine.

  • booSenatorHatchantiwolfloser November 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    boo Senator Hatch. He should not be reelected!!

  • Redleg November 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

    It takes about 5-7 elk to feed one wolf for a year. As the southwest becomes drier and less able to sustain herbivores of all kinds — including livestock — some reduction is going to be a fact of life regardless of the reintroduction of wolves. There is some evidence that wolves in sufficient numbers suppress predators below them in the chain, like coyotes. This makes it hard to predict the actual impact on wildlife from reintroducing wolves. As they say on Facebook: “It’s complicated.” That is what ecology is all about and why politicians should wait until scientists examine the data and make their recommendations. Politicos making policies before the facts are in is like the Queen insisting “Sentence first — verdict afterwards.”

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