Hate wolves? Well, then, you'll like this lady.
Her name is Lynn Scarlett. She's the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (whose mission is to "protect" our Nation's natural and cultural heritage), and according to Lynn, "WOLVES ARE BACK!"
Now, let's take out our handy-dandy Orwellian-Doublespeak-Translation Machine and see what Ms. Scarlett might mean by this seemingly jubilant statement.
What Ms. Scarlett means is that, with a little help from Bush&Co., gray wolves—one of the first species to win protection under the Endangered Species Act (having been hunted to the brink of extinction)—have just lost protection in the Eastern Rockies.
And what might that mean? Translation: The hunt is on.
Are we talking about a bit of minor culling from a swelling, healthy, truly established population of thousands? Not by a long shot, if you'll forgive the pun.
Here are the numbers, as reported in an article entitled, U.S. Ends Protections for Wolves in 3 States in today's New York Times.
From a base population of 66 wolves introduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in the mid-1990s, there are now nearly 1,300, with an additional 230 or so in Montana that have drifted down from Canada. State management plans allow for wolf hunting, or outright eradication in some places — including most of Wyoming — with a target population of 150 in each of the three states.
Let's just double-check the math on that one: 150 ("target population") x 3 (states) = 450, total target population of wolves. I think I also saw the phrase "outright eradication" in there somewhere, didn't I? Or are my crazy-environmentalist, New York Times-lovin' eyes deceiving me again? In Wyoming, wasn't it? (Wyoming...now let me see, that's Dick Cheney's state of residence isn't it? And Dick Cheney's kind of a hunting fan(atic), isn't he? There couldn't possibly be a connection here with mollifying the hunting lobby or gratifying old Dick's seemingly unquenchable bloodlust or anything like that, right?)
It does not take a rocket scientist (or even a degree is gene pool lifeguarding) to understand that no species can maintain adequate genetic diversity with populations of just a few hundred. (I'd like to see human beings try it for a refreshing change of pace.) Dispersed over vast areas, 450—or even 4,500—is a very small number of wolves.
A fiscally responsible individual such as myself can't help but wonder why we have been paying taxes for the past ten years to enable the re-establishment of this important predator only to wipe it out again. (But I forget sometimes that we are living in the Bush-Cheney era of senseless cruelty, wanton wastefulness, giddy idiocy and tragic irony.)
The only good news here is that a lawsuit is being planned by the Natural Resource Defense Council and many other good groups trying hard to hold what is left of our ecosystem together.
Please support this effort with a financial contribution or by signing on to this petition.
Read more about the wolves here and here and here.