1914 began the official war of the wolves. This year Congress officially approves funds for the eradication of wolves, cougars, and other destructive animals. Wolves were declared destructive to agricultural and big game interests and formally hunted. Nearly a century later, in 1995, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and Idaho's Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness(Phillips, 1996, p.20). The reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park did not end the debate of whether wolves should stay or go.
Many wolves were removed from regions where they weren’t even threats to humans or livestock (Klinghammer 446) because wolves, like grizzlies, were perceived as competitors for land and food. Unlike grizzly bears, wolves didn’t survive in the Northern Rocky Mountains because of poisonings, shootings, and bounties for their pelts (Barker 177). These actions caused the extinction of wolves in western states, changing the ecosystems by eliminating a natural predator. The reasons for this genocide, according to David Mech, were “the possible predation by the wolf upon man. .
The reintroduction of wolves has effected game a crossed the western Rockies. In many ways wolves have been a negative influence. They have caused problems in many wild game populations, including deer, elk, and many more. What has caused these problems, how do wolves hunt, and how do we control them? The original wolves were very different from the ones that were planted.
Coyotes and bears are a common sight in the woods. These animals, along with others, are predators that help to control deer population but also decrease the amount of land allowed to the deer. In Western NC, deer rates have fallen and bag limits have been reduced. In Pennsylvania, biologists have conducted a lengthy study to determine fawn mortality and predation. Predators killed 46% of fawns, (Hart).
In 1996 the government brought back the wolf and there was a lot of controversy about the subject. Since people feared the wolf; they thought that there would be more wolf attacks, and livestock lost. The truth is: a person is more likely to get attacked by a buffalo or an elk than a wolf. Their food supply was plentiful at the time of reintroduction so attacks were never a problem. Wolves weigh around 70-120 pounds, 26-34 inches in height at the shoulder and very lean and powerful.
The weak are sorted out and the strong survive. The same goes for the wolves. The wolves that are injured or have diseased cannot survive. When they die scavengers get to eat their meat, which contributes to the ecosystem. Another pro is more people come to Yellowstone National Park to see the wolves since they were extinct for more then 30 years.
While wolf hunting habits are a prime example of natural selection, human hunters are the opposite. They hunt the bigger and stronger deer, giving the weak a chance to reproduce. What about the problem of the decreasing deer population? They have been over-populated for many years, and while good for hunters, this is a problem for the wilderness areas of Wisconsin. Without the wolves to hunt the deer, they overpopulated rather quickly.
A regulated hunt and a population control procedure has become necessary in Wisconsin to protect state's economic endeavors of game, wildlife, and agriculture, and also the wolves themselves, to keep them from overpopulating and facing starvation and lack of land. When the reintroduction of wolves began in the state of Wisconsin, a goal of 350 wolves was set, and this number was reached successfully in a short amount of time. Once this was reached, however, the population continued to rise dramatically and exponentially, and is now in the upper 600s (Allen). The problems now come down to a few simple questions that have complex answers. Will a regulated hunt get out of control, and a repeat of the past begins?
The idea only gained wider publicity after the reintroduction of the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park in the USA in 1995 and since then has been debated and even nearly happened. The reintroduction of the wolf and also eventually bears and lynx would be greatly beneficial to the biodiversity and tourism of Scotland. All that needs to be done is to educate people and get rid of the ‘big, bad wolf’ persona. The post ice-age Scottish environment evolved with large predators that kept the biodiversity in balance. The wolves, bears and lynx lived alongside herbivores such as deer, horses, cattle, wild boar and elk.
Wolves cause a major threat to families, their livestock, wild game animals and to bear hunters’ dogs living in rural areas. Wolves are a growing threat and they should be legally regulated by the process of hunting and trapping so they are kept down to a healthy number. Human kind began hunting wolves at least 13,000 years ago when the wolf became a threat to their livestock. Over the past hundred years wolves were hunted for their pelts and also so that farmers could keep their livestock safe. What most extremist wolf supporters don’t know is that wolves were not an extinct species.