Recently, a benefit was held in Scottsdale dubbed “Dinner with Wolves.” The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, and many environmental groups want the Mexican wolf returned to what they consider the wild landscape of Arizona. They also want to maintain protections for the Mexican wolf by listing it as “endangered.”
Wolves are charismatic, beautiful, and graceful. Their evening howls evoke wonderment in many people. Environmentalists believe that wolves will foster ecosystem diversity and stability.
Mexican wolves’ historical range was never in the area where they were released
The Mexican wolf’s historical range was primarily centered in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, and as far south as Oaxaca. Only 10% of the Mexican wolf’s range extended as far north as southeastern Arizona.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released Mexican wolves into northeastern Arizona in 1998. The USFWS is strongly considering expanding the release area from New Mexico to California and from I-10 to I-40. That will include several counties and millions in human population.
This is not good news to residents in the rural areas of northeastern Arizona who have had their lives, property, and livelihoods adversely affected by wolves since 1998.
Cattle raising is a small family tradition. Wolves kill their livelihood.
Many people are under the misconception that it is only rich cattle barons, hunters, and hysterically uninformed who object to wolves. They also believe that wolves rarely bother livestock.
The reality is much different, according to written statements submitted to the USFWS and in testimony provided at the USFWS hearing in Pinetop on December 3, 2013.
Many Arizona operations have less than 50 cows and a couple hundred isn’t unusual. It is true that the traditional prey of the Mexican wolf in the wild is ungulates, including elk and deer. However, these wolves aren’t accustomed to hunting in the wilderness. They have been bred in captivity and prior to release, they are collared or fitted with an identification chip, and then they are intensively monitored by the federal government. They are checked for diseases and parasites, and routinely vaccinated and dewormed. They are even fed.
Also, according to the Apache and Mohave County Board of Supervisors in Arizona, and the Catron County Board of Supervisors in New Mexico, and many other organizations, human/wolf, livestock/wolf, and pet/wolf interactions are numerous and well documented in and near the areas where they have been released.
These true stakeholders who have had to deal with wolves say that it’s important to understand how wolves hunt and kill, something the pro wolf non-stakeholders never mention. Wolves run their prey until it collapses in exhaustion. They don’t kill an animal and eat it. They eat animals alive. Wolves will eat the genitals and intestines and leave the animal to slowly die. They rip out the fetuses of cows and leave the mother animal to slowly die.
Children Witness the Maulings of their Pets
Pets have been mauled before the eyes of children in their own yards, leaving these children traumatized. A wolf ripped the head off a cat before the eyes of two young children. A young girl was greeted by the grisly, bloody remains of her pony after wolves entered her parent’s property and chewed it up. A wolf recently entered a yard in broad daylight and grabbed a dog the size of a golden retriever by its neck and drug it away. That was caught on film. A female bow hunter in a forest in Idaho suddenly realized she was being stalked by a wolf. By the time she grabbed her pistol and shot it in the head, the wolf was within 10 feet of her.
Does it Matter "Why" a Wolf Slaughters a herd of Sheep?
It took only two wolves to slaughter nearly 200 sheep in one overnight killing spree in Idaho, and another similar incident occurred in Montana. The motive of the wolves matters little to the owners of the sheep, and even less to the sheep with their sides ripped open.
San Carlos Apaches Devastated by Wolves.
These wolves are unafraid of people and have gravitated toward easy prey. Among the many cattle operations devastated by the reintroduction of wolves is the San Carlos Apache Tribe, after the USFWS released wolves next to their reservation. Wildlife and livestock that have been harassed by wolves are more susceptible to disease and injury, and fail to reproduce at self-sustaining rates.
Harsh Realities, not "Wolf Hatred" is the Reason Arizonans Don’t Want Wolves Near Them
These harsh realities are the reason for the opposition to Mexican wolves. It is the reason they are poisoned and killed. When it is a person’s own livestock that have been the victims of the torture and agony of a wolf attack; when it is a person’s own children who have been traumatized by the grisly attacks on their pets by wolves; when it is one’s own family and self that risk a wolf attack, the romance with wolves comes to an abrupt end.
Every person has the fundamental, inalienable right to protect his or her life and property. This right isn’t granted by the Constitution. It just IS. The Constitution merely codifies it.
It is the local government’s responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens, including protecting them from the adverse societal and economic impacts of federal actions. There are several bills on Governor Brewer’s desk designed to protect Arizonans from the adverse economic and health and safety effects of wolves. Please ask her to sign them. SB1211, HB2699, and SCR1006. One bill is still in the Legislature. Please support SB1212.
Who’s Paying for the Wolves? (WARNING: GRAPHIC)