Monday, February 8, 2010

Drop Brain, Grab Wallets

Your tax dollars are being spent for "NEW" research.

(USFWS photo)

Today's Great Falls Tribune ran an Associated Press story that describes a new method to cull deer and elk from National Parks.  Story here.

The method involves introducing packs of wolves to small parks that are being overrun by herds of deer and elk.

The proposal is the brainchild of Dan Licht, National Park Service biologist for the Northern plains and five other researchers.

The Tribune article doesn't say if Ed Bangs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and leader of the Northern Rockies restoration program, was part of the research, or if he was contacted for his input.  Bangs has received ridicule from both pro- and anti-wolf groups, but he has been in charge of the restoration project for over a decade.  He is the "go to guy" for wolf biology in the Northern Rockies.

The AP story did quote Bangs twice.

Wolves fix very few problems compared to the ones they create.
When you have great densities of people, lots of agriculture, you're not going to keep wolves alive.  If you're talking even 100 square miles, or 200 square miles, you're talking about a territory that's too small for even one wolf pack.
Licht's proposal is talking about areas as small as 15 square miles.

 Seems good research should include experts in the field researched.

It is surprising that the researchers have left out hunters.  With bows or shotguns, the deer and elk could be controlled at less cost than transporting, collaring, neutering, fencing and managing wolves.  Since hunters pay to hunt, the license fees pay for management--a win-win for wildlife and the parks.

Numbers of hunters would also be easier to control as the population ebbs and flows over the course of years.  Wolves on the other hand, would have to be fed or transported to a new location when numbers of deer and elk fell.

Calf D152 killed by wolves in the Smith Creek drainage of Montana.  (LF Ranch photo)

And then there is always the possibility they could escape the enclosures and attack cattle and domestic animals.  The neutered and collared wolves would kill New York or California domestics as easily as the wild wolves kill Montana, Idaho and Wyoming domestics--cattle, sheep, and dogs.

You may want to call your congressmen and ask that money for worthless research be restricted.

Today.  Tomorrow may be to late.

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