Last week Ed Bangs, head wolf recovery guru for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said that the decline in moose populations in the Yellowstone National Park area was due to climate change and that his reintroduction of wolves has nothing to do with it. He also was quoted as saying that the presence of wolves worldwide, was “no big deal”. In the context in which that statement was made, let me post it here as it appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune as of January 21, 2010.

“People who don’t like them [wolves] give them supernatural powers. It’s that way all over the world,” Bangs says. “In reality, they’re no big deal.”

That’s really the ultimate in ignorant statements, especially coming from a professional working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It also appears I’m not alone in that assessment.

Tony Mayer, owner/administrator for Save Our Elk, is challenging Bangs on his statement that wolves are “no big deal”. He is asking if Bangs intends to stand by that statement and gives us all a list of reasons the presence of wolves may be a bigger deal than Bangs or others are willing to admit.

Consider the impact to an ecosystem that was previously untouched by wolves (prior to 1994). Consider that this same Rocky Mountain Wilderness area now has a top-tier predator thrust into its midst. The predator has experienced phenomenal growth and currently exceeds 2,000 to 3,000 wolves depending whose numbers you believe. This predator is a borne killer and hunts 365 days per year. It is responsible for killing 6,000 and 12,000 elk monthly. Do you still want to stand by your statement “In reality, they’re no big deal?”

Consider that Elk/Calf recruitment has plummeted to record lows in many areas where these wolves roam and is now below replenishment levels. Do you still want to stand by your statement “In reality, they’re no big deal?”

Consider that wolves are primarily responsible for rapid spread of parasites and diseases within their range. These parasites Neospora Caninum and Echinococcus granulose were largely undetected prior to the introduction of wolves and now are infecting other wildlife and livestock at alarming rates. The impact of these 2,000 to 3,000 wolves exponentially spreading disease within our borders is catastrophic, and will forever impact our game, domestic livestock and potentially to humans. Do you still want to stand by your statement “In reality, they’re no big deal??”

Consider the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been wasted and that wolves are continuing to cost our government and the citizens of our states. Do you still want to stand by your statement “In reality, they’re no big deal?”

And being as Mr. Bangs declared that wolves worldwide were no big deal, I can add to this list more than time would allow, the negative impact wolves have had on people’s lives. Mayer points out what is taking place in and around the Yellowstone area. Most of us are uninformed about the long and sordid history of wolves worldwide and the death and destruction to humans and their property caused by wolves. In America we scoff and claim such stories to be myths, as does Bangs in his own ignorance, much due to the indoctrination we have all had beat into our brains since birth. He was only one step away from referencing Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

No, the sky is not falling or the world coming to an end. Real wildlife conservationists are interested in first protecting the health and safety of humans and then their property. Where wildlife populations once were sparse and in need of help, hunters’ money from license fees etc. brought back to the Yellowstone and many other areas of this country, bountiful and healthy species of game and wildlife. It is irresponsible to sit by and allow ignorance, driven by special interest groups, to destroy this investment.

Ed Bangs works for all taxpayers. If he honestly believes that an overblown population of a ravaging predator, known to carry diseases, is “no big deal”, then it is time that USFWS found a replacement for him.

Tom Remington