Originally Published: January 8, 2014 6 a.m.
Thank you for Dennis Duvall's column, "Delay means extinction for wolves." Indeed it does. This species hangs on the precipice of extinction, and the slightest thing could push it off for good. One would think there would be more concern for the most endangered mammal in the country.
Many people spread mistruths about wolves, including Mexican gray wolves, in an apparent effort to wipe them off the face of the Earth. But why? Contrary to what some would have you believe, wolves are not slaughtering tons of livestock. In fact, according to a report is-sued by the USDA, only 0.23 percent (a fraction of 1 percent) of all cattle deaths, and about 4 percent of all sheep deaths are caused by any kind of predator. And there are a lot of predators besides just wolves.
Some people think wolves will go around attacking people, especially children. They even go to the extreme of building cages around bus stops. But there has never been a reported case of a Mexican gray wolf attacking anyone. Wolves in general avoid people. Mexican gray wolves are extremely shy. I spent a weekend up at Big Lake in July in the Mexican gray wolf recovery area. I did not see a single wolf. But I saw plenty of people like me concerned about the survival of the Mexican gray wolf who had gathered from around the country to see what we could do to help. You see, caring for endangered species is everyone's business, not just those who live in a particular area.
If they are going to have a chance at survival, Mexican gray wolves, at the very least, need a greatly expanded territory, and the immediate release of more wolves into the wild. And they need to be reclassified as essential. Because they are.