Yellowstone Wolf Experiment Out of Control ©
By Jim Slinsky
It is with great sadness that I write this column. You didn’t have to be a wildlife biologist to foresee the outcome when you mix Canadian timber wolves with the wildlife of Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone’s wildlife populations have plummeted. Wolves are brutal, vicious predators and have a tremendous impact on all wildlife in any ecosystem.
I am not exaggerating. I radio interviewed a rancher, Mr. Robert T. Fanning Jr. and a big game outfitter, Mr. William Hoppe, both of whom live within sight of Yellowstone National Park. It is a whole “New World” out there since Canadian timber wolves were introduced.
Mr. Fanning is the founder of “Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd” and Mr. Hoppe is the President. From investing hours on the phone with these gentlemen I believe the American people and the American sportsmen are not hearing the straight story on this experiment that’s flat out of control. Montana wildlife needs some relief and so do it’s private landowners, big game outfitters and ranchers.
The original plan was for 78-100 wolves to be introduced into Yellowstone. Of course, you realize hunting is not permitted in Yellowstone or any other National Park. US Fish and Wildlife personnel were concerned wildlife populations were too high and impacting flora and fauna. (Sound familiar?) The environmentalists were screaming their theme of returning to the “Natural Order” of life in the wilds. The project went forward.
The elk herd in Yellowstone was estimated at 20,000 animals at the time of the introduction of the wolves. Historic documents reveal that Yellowstone’s elk, the largest migratory elk herd in the US, was about 30,000 at the turn of the 20th century.
In less than 10 years the effect wolves have had on Yellowstone’s wildlife has been nothing less than devastating. Elk populations hang around 10,000; the moose and deer are almost completely gone. Antelope went from 600 to 200 specimens. Sheep populations have fallen from 300 to 40, possibly an inadequate amount to repopulate the Park. Wolves are attacking horses, mules, livestock and stalking children. The economic health of the region has collapsed and so has the outfitting business north of Yellowstone.
The wolves are multiplying at the rate of 34% a year. There are now 370 wolves in Yellowstone and 770 in the tri-state area of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Wildlife in that region is getting hammered.
Forget what you heard about wolves killing only the weak and sick. Wolves are canines and like dogs, they kill by instinct and for fun. Aerial photographs document dead, red wildlife carcasses over the landscape. Wolves practice “surplus killing” whether they are hungry or not. The wildlife of the region can not rest and they live in constant fear. Like coyotes following a deer herd, a wolf pack pursuit is relentless. One wolf will kill 23-25 mature elk a year, not counting calves. Now multiply that by 770 wolves.
The recruitment of newborn game animals into their populations has been the hardest hit. Elk calf survival is averaging 14 out of every 100. In high-density wolf areas, only 4 out of every 100 calves survive the wolf packs. Keep in mind, these wolves are not native to the region. The Rocky Mountain wolf at 80 pounds, which hunts in pairs, has been displaced by this Canadian gray wolf, which hunts in packs. This predatory machine has no predator.
The Montana Department of Game, Fish and Parks has applied to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for de-listing of the wolf from “threatened” to “game” animal status. A decision will be made in December. Environmental groups have vowed to sue and tie this up in court for years. The environmentalists will stab the US F & W Service in the back in the process. They both worked together to introduce the wolves. The residents of that region desperately need relief and start the process of controlling this insidious predator.
Wolf introduction is earmarked for all of our western states. We now know what this predator can do to our wildlife, sport hunting and the economies of these states. We also know they are being used as a divisive tool against the private property owning Americans living in that region.
We simply must say “no” to wolf reintroduction. Sportsmen, private landowners and all Americans need to recognize this program as eco-terrorism on our wildlife. It is an obvious attempt to end sport hunting.
Bill Hoppe suggests if Easterners have any doubt about the brutality and devastation of wolves, they only need come to Yellowstone and witness the carnage. We only need watch the ground turn red from the blood of our valued wildlife. We only need listen to the crying of an animal being consumed alive.
We only need listen to their screams of agony.
Read Part II of this article at: