Imperiled wolves need protections

They are vital to balance in nature and require our help to survive

The author is director of the League of Humane Voters, Butte County affiliate.

Wolves are an important species—an essential element in the dynamic balance of nature. But in spite of that, more than 1,200 of these magnificent animals—including wolf pups under 6 months old—have been killed in the Northern Rockies in just two years.

In some states, such as North Carolina, legal coyote hunting has taken its toll on the red wolf population. Wildlife officials believe the animals have been mistaken for coyotes. As a result, approximately 10 percent of the population has been killed. An estimated 100 remain in existence.

Not so long ago, between 250,000 and 500,000 wild wolves lived in harmony with Native Americans and the rest of the ecosystem. However, a little more than a hundred years ago, the U.S. government implemented wolf population control policy. The wolves were called “pests” and viewed as a threat to the human population. Theodore Roosevelt called for eradication of the species, and in the early 1900s the war on wolves began. The wolf is the only species deliberately driven to the brink of extinction.

In 1974, the gray wolf was listed as “protected” under the Endangered Species Act and wolf recovery began to take place. But on June 7, 2013, the Obama administration announced plans to prematurely strip that protection from gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states—a move that will abruptly end one of America’s most important species recovery programs. The proposal concludes that wolf protection in the continental United States, in place since 1978, is no longer needed, even though there are fledgling populations in places like the Pacific Northwest where survival hinges on continued federal protection.

In 2011, Western states became captivated by the expeditions of OR-7, or “Journey,” the lone wolf who wandered into Northern California to find a mate. Sadly, he did not find a mate and made his way back to his home in Oregon.

One rogue wolf should not be the sole reason we push for change in trying to bring the wolf population back from extinction. Any push for change should be based on fact and fact alone; the sole reason for the rapid decline of the wolf population is because of our own error. We have the opportunity to correct this error. Please, do not support any anti-wolf legislation or hunts, and instead allow this natural predator to regain its population the old-fashioned way. Visit to send a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in defense of wolves.