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Regarding the December 2014 re-listing of the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) onto the Endangered Species list.
From what I have gathered from the press over the years, the contempt you described that a lot of folks have for the gray wolf….is true. And I too believe that listing is not enough.
But it is interesting that today, there is equal sentiment favoring the re-establishment of the wolf.
So, in America, the gray wolf is possibly the most controversial wildlife species and probably, along with the grizzly, the species that most represents true wilderness.
The Gray Wolf Historically:
As you know the gray wolf has been scorned and eliminated throughout human history. Here is a very interesting map I just found on wiki showing the historic vs current range of the gray wolf (Canis lupus)
Regarding ranchers who hate the gray wolf:
Ranchers who lease federal land and call for the eradication of the gray wolf are showing the epitome of audacity. And if the cattle were not grazing this “rangeland”, it would recover for the purpose of supporting native systems (that are disappearing), which was its function before the cattle arrived in the first place. And of course, cattlemen do not talk about that.
I want the protection that the gray wolf rightfully deserves after centuries of persecution. My motivations come from simple love for all that represents wilderness.
Listing is not enough: USFWS and Critical Habitat
It seems that keeping the wolf listed as endangered also tends to preserve wilderness. The USFWS is responsible for more than evaluating a species in question and then designating its status. I could be incorrect but I believe that the Service also defines the Critical Habitat of each Endangered Species. I believe that the Service has defined the Critical Habitats of just over 600 of the 1500+ endangered species. And it is Mike and your concern (listing is not enough) that brings us to the Critical Habitat. I do not know if Critical Habitat has been delineated for the gray wolf. I suspect not. It seems that it will be very controversial. But this just illustrates what we are involved in today; a fight for what is left of wilderness, of natural systems. And it is never going to go away.
The Y2Y Corridor
Also, please keep in mind the Y2Y non-profit efforts, to lock up a long corridor of wilderness:
Go Wolves! Go Wilderness! It seems that “As the wolf goes….so goes the wilderness”. And just think of the future opportunities to photograph nature.
Finally….I do agree with you that “in the long haul”, the gray wolf does not stand much of a chance. And this is all the more reason it deserves all the protection we can give it in the time it has left.
Thanks much to NSN for this forum. BTW, I encourage itsaboutnature.net readers to look into Naturescapes.net. If you love nature and/or nature photography, you are likely to enjoy NSN.