Federal wildlife officials are considering using wolves to control the elk population at Colorado’s Baca National Wildlife Refuge.
From this story in the Billings Gazette:
Federal officials are considering using wolves to control the number of elk in Baca National Wildlife Refuge, a proposal that is drawing criticism from hunters and ranchers and support from environmentalists. And a plan that is drawing comparisons to what has happened in Montana and Wyoming since wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planner Laurie Shannon says the use of wolves in Colorado is not the preferred alternative, but it’s an option for controlling elk herds that have taken a heavy toll on the cottonwoods and willows lining stream banks.
“Right now, it’s a question. You have a lot of elk, a lot of people would say you need a large predator. We may not move forward with it, but right now it’s on the table,” she said. Federal officials have drafted four possible options for managing the Alamosa, Baca and Monte Vista national wildlife refuges as they develop a comprehensive conservation plan. The wolf proposal is one of four presented at public workshops this week, but wildlife officials don’t expect to select one until 2014. Other options include largely keeping things as they are now, allowing hunting to help control elk populations and maximizing public uses._
Sure, why not? I mean, reintroducing wolves has gone over so well with elk hunters elsewhere with virtually no opposition or controversy at all, so why wouldn’t we be on board with this?
If you’ve got an elk problem at a national wildlife refuge (not a national park, but a national wildlife refuge, you know, those places sportsmen helped pay for…) and you “need a large predator” to help control that population, forget about human hunters and instead focus on the more natural, holistic, warm-n-fuzzy, Gaia-friendly option, which apparently is to throw a bunch of wolves in there with them. It gets my power crystals humming just thinking about it. Yeah, no one’s gonna have a problem with that one…