(This letter was written to Ken Salazar, the current United States Secretary of the Interior. The author asked that it be reprinted here.)
I’m writing to ask you to relist the eastern gray wolf on the endangered species list in Wisconsin.
The reason for delisting the wolf in this state was ostensibly to remove individual animals that were preying on cattle, or an occasional dog, especially bear hunting hounds that were occasionally killed by wolves when they were raising litters of pups. However, that is not what the state of Wisconsin intends to.
The state acted deceitfully in asking for the delisting. The state and its governor and legislature wanted and now intend to create a hunting season to eliminate over 500 of the 880 wolves now living in the state. This number is just an estimate, and the actual number may be far smaller. To make money off the wolf, the state intends to create a trophy hunt beginning this October. For a great deal of money (I’ve heard $1,000) a hunter can buy a lifetime permit which allows him to kill one wolf. This can be done by trapping, using dogs or shining the animals at night. The state will allow enough wolves to be killed to bring the estimated number of animals down to 300. This plan is barbaric.
Wolves have been able to occupy habitat that many biologists thought they wouldn’t inhabit. They didn’t need wilderness after all. They can live in proximity to man and are not a danger to him. They have controlled disease in deer, including CWD, to keep this huge herd of deer healthy and virtually disease free.
The cattle they have attacked are few, and usually come from sub-marginal farming operations. If a farmer or rancher uses a dog breed like marinas to guard livestock, there are no losses.
In addition, there is too little known about wolves; there is virtually no biologists who have anything but fleeting knowledge of the wolf society. Many of the university biologists are opposed to the delisting for this reason. We don’t know what the carrying capacity of the habitat is. I think you should be suspicious of anything from the State of Wisconsin, considering their motive is to have a money-making trophy hunt of the wolf. In addition, the head of the Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association has said they want the wolf population reduced to 300 or less.
There is no intent to conserve wolves. This magnificent animal is going to be slaughtered just as it was in the past. The attitude toward it is ignorant and short-sighted. Reports to you on the wolf’s dangers and depredations are not true. This magnificent animal has made a remarkable comeback in this state, and we should be proud and grateful, and not be developing a plan to exterminate them. If Wisconsin doesn’t have the intelligence and decency to protect the timber wolf, then the federal government must act; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gerald Rau, Rhinelander