There are many things that can be said about gray wolves in America but the one issue that is becoming front and center is the fact that the divide that separates wolf lovers from wolf haters is growing. Where once it was thought that compromise somewhere by someone would ease the pain and solve a problem, now it is apparent that compromise has become a very nasty word.
It is my perspective that once wolves flourished to a point they were becoming a serious problem in the destruction of wild ungulates, i.e. deer, moose, elk, and depredation of livestock and in some cases threats to humans, efforts to control this destruction met with vigorous opposition. In other words, the environmentalist, so-called animal rights groups and anti-hunting/trapping/fishing groups offered no form of compromise. As a matter of fact the demands rose even sharper and continue to this day insisting that all of the United States will have wolves despite the known destruction and dangers that now exist.
On the other side of the wolf debate, governments, wildlife agencies, sporting groups, livestock owners and basically Joe Citizen were willing to meet somewhere in the middle; anything to put a halt to the problems the growing wolf population was causing. Wolf lovers only responded by increasing their demands and changing their handpicked science.
As a result of the greed and corruption, the divide between the two sides has grown. All one has to do is take a few minutes to review the history, the court rulings, the actions by some fish and wildlife agencies, etc. and it becomes extraordinarily clear that those once willing to compromise have dug in and are making demands of their own.
In the latest ruling from the courts, Judge Johnson essentially has told Judge Molloy he is wrong. Johnson sees nothing wrong with Wyoming’s wolf management plan while Molloy either searches for the excuse of the day to keep wolves listed as endangered or he simply makes up his own “science”. While Johnson’s rule clarifies several things, his failure to not take another step to delist the wolves only reinforces the widening divide.
The rhetoric is changing as a result. While the environmentalists keep passing petitions and filing lawsuits in hopes of spreading wolves nationwide, those in the middle on this debate are moving closer to the side of the anti wolf crowd because they are getting fed up. Fed up with childish behavior that threatens the safety of people, their livelihoods and they see a destruction of a multi-million dollar wildlife and hunting industry.
As each day passes and with each day no resolution to this problem, the suggested solutions from the sane side of the debate become more radical. There is more talk of getting rid of all wolves, where once it was all focused on how better to manage wolves and create hunting and trapping opportunities for them; mostly benign and moderate solutions to a growing problem.
But who can blame these people – those who are fed up with wolves and the putrefying politics that have taken the debate hostage. They have been lied to from the beginning and there is no end to it. Judge Johnson, in his most recent ruling, pointed out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used the same scientific studies to reach several different conclusions, depending on the argument they needed to support.
The courts always seem to point out the so-called granted “deference” as it pertains to which cherry-picked piece of science they were wanting to use to promote their agendas. While most of us can see clear to understand how deference might be a useful tool in reaching a resolve in litigation issues, to even a layperson it has become clear that this so-called deference has gotten out of control. It has been taken advantage of by lawyers, allowing for the introduction of “scientific evidence” that hasn’t even been peer reviewed or established in the science community.
All of these actions and more are turning the stomachs of the people. Frustration levels are rising at unprecedented speed with more and more Americans seeing the wolf problem as having no solution. It is costing taxpayers millions of dollars with no end in sight. Who wouldn’t, at some point, begin demanding that wolves, once again, be eradicated. After all, life was so much easier before this criminal act altered the lives hundreds of thousands of American citizens.
Had I or someone else suggested to you a mere two years ago that this outrageous trampling of people’s rights would bring the debate to Washington, with bills being proposed that would exempt the gray wolf from any consideration of the Endangered Species Act, you would have laughed and scoffed. The people will stand for only so much before they fight back. If a quick resolution isn’t formulated within the next year, more citizens will balk against settling for wolves and learning to live with them.
In a recent article in the Jackson Hole News & Guide, Mike Clark, executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition said, “The wolves are here to stay. The question is what number of wolves will people tolerate.” That used to be the middle of the road sentiment but now, more people are suggesting they will not tolerate any wolves.
What we are seeing is more of what outfitter B.J. Hill said in this same article:
“Those type of negotiations are out the window,” Kelly outfitter B.J. Hill said.
“They’ve lost their credibility with the folks,” Hill said of conservation groups. “You do not negotiate with an environmental greenie. If you want to play, you play hardball.”
Where do we go from here? Some think the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will sit and play the waiting game to see if Congress will actually seek a legislative solution to this problem. It may be the only answer as few find any confidence that the courts can resolve the problem.
A federal legislature might be able to resolve this problem with wolves, but action to cure the wolf debacle will do little to stop the abuse of the Endangered Species Act until that Act is seriously amended.