Return the wolf, restore the balance

To the editor,
I am looking forward to hearing a wolf howl in the Weminuche! Not only do we need to restore this missing creature that has been respected and honored by humankind for eons, but we need to reassess outdated values from a dark time in our nation’s history. A time when killing any species, including humans, that were inconveniencing our progress or way of life was fine and culturally accepted. It’s long past time we correct old mistakes of sacrificing balanced ecosystems by killing and exterminating apex predators, a scientifically proven unsound practice.
Still, some folks oppose wolves. This opposition results from repeatedly claiming that wolves will “put ranchers out of business,” “wipe out elk populations” and the extremely hysterical “ eat our children.” However, absolutely no facts or experience support these fears. 

Wolves have been living in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana since 1995, and in all three states, elk populations are higher than they were 1995. Hunter success ratios are higher also. No children have been eaten or even attacked by a wolf in those same years.

Wolves have and will occasionally take livestock. However, according to government data from counties in the Northern Rockies hosting both wolves and livestock, 99.95 percent of those cows and sheep do not perish by wolves. Nevertheless, Colorado’s wolf-restoration measure on the ballot this fall mandates that ranchers be paid fair market value for their losses. That is only fair. Howl on lobo!

– Bob Kuhnert, Durango