THE VINE MAY 13, 2008
Like grizzlies, American gray wolves are caught in a sort of ping-pong match between environmentalists and local pro-hunting activists who claim they're a menace to livestock and humans. Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s, and the reintroduction was so successful (meaning that a population that once numbered in the thousands is at about 1,500) that they've finally been taken off the endangered species list in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and parts of neighboring states. So it's time to start shooting at them again! Idaho has started handing out wolf-hunting permits for next fall.
Still, dissatisfied anti-wolf (or as they like to call themselves, pro-elk) agitators have already taken to the lists, as with this guy in Idaho, who's sending around a petition to put an initiative on the November ballot to eliminate all wolves from the state: "'We don't care if you nuke 'em or poison 'em,' said Gillet, 'as long as they're gone!'" Later he accuses one of his adversaries in Idaho Fish and Game of wanting "an alpha female wolf for a girlfriend" and reads an anti-wolf poem (text unfortunately not included).
The anti-wolf folks certainly have some serious issues: Wolves do kill livestock and wipe out ungulate populations, and there have been some isolated incidents of wolves attacking humans (especially habituated wolves -- don't feed them!). But wackos like this guy don't do much to help the debate; and, meanwhile, nervous environmentalists have filed a suit demanding that the wolves be put back on the endangered list. And so the back-and-forth continues....