A guest post by Tyrell Mares (Note: I took the liberty to edit the below article only by breaking it up into smaller paragraphs for easier reading. The only other changes would be something in [brackets] to clarify information. The letter also references links for readers. At this time, I do not have the links. If I get them, I will update this post.)
Dear Back Country Outfitters Association,
My name is Tyrell Mares and I am contacting you all for assistance with a problem that we have here in Colorado. If you are not aware, there is currently an effort from the environmental-extremist group WildEarth Guardians to release wolves into our back country of Colorado. This will pose a major threat to our wildlife, livestock, and use/access of public lands in regards of horse and human safety. The wolf in Colorado would mean depredation for livestock and wildlife on levels that would be eventually catastrophic.
I am originally from the Gila region of New Mexico where the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program has been in full effect for over 12 years. In that time I have has seen endless livestock and wildlife slaughtered by the sport killing reflex that these wolves possess. Livestock and wild ungulates are harassed and chased by wolves until they die from exhaustion and the wolves do not even consume the carcass.
Since the release of wolves, calving rates in both elk and cattle have dropped extensively. The presence of these animals cause elk and cows/heifers to abort their calves at a much higher rate than any other predator that’s indigenous to the Gila.
Today the WildEarth Guardians brought forward a case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which was led by a University of Colorado-Boulder law student, in effort to have a recovery program started for Rocky Mountain National Park. The National Park Service has denied such a proposal to the “elk problem” inside the park and the judge ruled in their favor. However, I urge you all to be on alert of what is going on here because they are most likely going to appeal the ruling and then submit the proposal to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for final review. Upon that, a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be conducted and then the recovery plan will be set in stone and the releases of wolves will begin.
The problem is, I watched things unfold in a very similar manner in 1997/1998 in the Gila. Before the EIS was completed, the proposal was drastically changed. The criteria of how the wolf was to be managed, the 98 Rule, was significantly revised from original objectives and soon after the wolf became a major problem for rural western New Mexico and eastern Arizona. Under the 98 Rule, problem wolves that were guilty of 3 or more confirmed kills were to be removed from the landscape, ranchers/land owners were to receive 100% compensation for livestock losses from wolves, and there would be actions taken to remove wolves that were a nuisance to people.
However, that has not been upheld in over 5 years and since 98 only portions of this were being met. The 10J rule was a revision to implement these measures again but the 10J is also not being followed properly. Their biggest offense is mostly livestock and in certain periods one pack has killed over 30 confirmed cows or calves.
One such example was the Aspen Pack in 2006 where it killed over 30 cows and calves between April 2006 and June 2006. To determine a confirmed kill, there is a long and extensive method used to include analyzing scat, bite marks, etc but Mexican wolves kill by consumption. They do not kill their prey outright but rather attack and maim it until it can’t move or it can be held down to be eaten off of. In turn the prey dies from blood loss, tissue loss, shock, or a combination of these.
This is a major problem and one reason to blame is their behavior and characteristics. These wolves are non-native to the landscape as they are hybrids as shown through the Ghost Ranch and Aragon Lineages. In the 1970’s there were 5 wolves to start the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and at the time the biologists noted that these animals were dog-like. They do not belong on the landscape because of the fact they are wolf-dog hybrids and any animal like that will decimate the ecosystem it is put in.
However, there is a much bigger problem and that is human safety. In 2005, the Aspen Pack surrounded an elementary school and stalked kids through the fence forcing a school lockdown. The USFWS and Arizona Game and Fish captured them and relocated them into Catron County, New Mexico instead of euthanizing them.
Many people I know have been stalked by Mexican wolves to include myself in 2010. This is just my experiences with the Mexican wolf which has been proposed to be released in the Baca National Wildlife Refuge/San Luiz Valley area. However, those efforts are on hold but I doubt that the environmental extremists won’t push for it any more. It is just a matter of time.
In the Northern Rockies there is the Canadian grey wolf who has caused wild ungulate populations to collapse and in places like the Lolo Zone of Idaho, there are less than 10 elk calves per 100 that survive to birth. You need triple that to sustain an elk herd of that size. This does not count calf kills from wolves or other predators and these wolves have continuously grown into conflict as well.
The Canadian wolf is from Canada, the Yukon region and is also non-native like the Mexican wolf. The Canadian wolf population has exploded and there is upwards of an estimated 5,000 wolves in Idaho alone. They are expanding their range as they keep eating themselves out of their carrying capacity. The [Colorado]DOW has documented these wolves moving in from Wyoming since 2007 and I hope that they do not gain a foot hold here.
We must stop the wolf from being able to gain roots here before decimating our livestock herds and wild ungulate populations. This is very real and I want you to be aware that this is not to scare you all, just inform you of what will happen if we leave the door open for wolves to come in. Can we afford a high threat to human safety, the destruction of our wildlife, and the decimation of our ranching and farming heritage here in rural Colorado? No we can not.
I want to inform you of this because I am asking for your help. The task I am asking you all is for your support as an organization to assist and participate in the effort I am putting together to prevent these releases. There are literally wolves at the door and they will take over if we don’t prevent the releases and stop the expansion. I encourage you all to educate yourselves on the wolves. Here are some links below that you all can use.
In closing, I want to thank you for your time and consideration. This is a highly important matter and I appreciate you taking the time to read this email. I hope to hear your response soon.
Tyrell W. Mares