No reason for wolves to return
Delia Malone’s commentary in the March 5 issue (“Wolves need to return to Colorado,” The Aspen Times) to help the ecosystem was nicely written but left a fundamental question unanswered: Why should we reintroduce wolves into the Colorado backcountry? Malone seems to take a restored wolf presence to be a self-evident good, arguing that wolf eradication was “a terrible wrong,” “persecution,” and an outgrowth of manifest destiny, which might be an embarrassment to the modern liberally-inclined, but which is also a policy without which the great majority of us in the West would not be here today. But putting aside the moralisms, Malone offers no evidence of a present need for the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado. She does not explain how today’s backcountry ecosystems are out of balance such they need wolves to set the balance right. She contends that “wolves are a hunter’s best friend,” but she presents no data suggesting that Colorado hunters — and elk — are suffering due to the absence of wolves. And she appears to be cherry-picking the data in support of her contention that the reintroduction of wolves in other states has done little harm. See, .e.g., http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2015/mar/09/lolo-wolves-killed-give-famous-elk-herd-break/, which in 2015 discussed the need for wolf culls in Idaho’s Lolo region to improve elk survivability there. In my view, for what it’s worth, the proponents of wolf reintroduction in Colorado have yet to make a convincing case. The best they seem to have come up with so far other than some very impressive marketing is that it would salve feelings of collective guilt that the proponents feel and that the harm it would do to the prey populations, both domestic and wild, would be manageable. For me, that is not enough.
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