Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Killing Wolves Ruins Research in Yellowstone

While there are many ethical concerns about the wanton and heinous slaughter of wild animals including wolves, an outcome of hunters killing Yellowstone wolves is a strong and negative impact on long-term research on these amazing predators who very rarely attack humans, who actually do extremely little damage to livestock, but who are vital to the health of ecosystems. Read More

Yellowstone Tragedy

The killing of wolves, including those with collars, who have strayed outside of Yellowstone’s unmarked boundaries is disgraceful.

I suspect that some of the misguided and selfish individuals pretend to themselves and to others that the big bad wolf of mythology is a true reflection of these animals.

I also fear that Marc Bekoff is likely to be right that often the wanton killing is a misplaced ego booster for the hunters, hunters who cannot see (choose not to see) either collars or the harm they are doing to one of the most valuable ecological studies I know of.

The Yellowstone federally funded wolf project has already changed many views about the intricate predator / prey and other ecological dynamics that are so vital to the very future of our planet.

I have no idea where these misguided “sportsmen” come from as they seem to lack both any respect for the wolves or any appreciation of what this important ongoing (now unforgivably disrupted) Yellowstone study has told us both new details about one of North America’s most remarkable species and how the wellbeing of that species benefits many broader issues of natural ecology.
It is a true disgrace.

John C. Fentress, PhD

Yellowstone - wanton killing of wolves

I had the privilege of visiting Yellowstone in 2000 through an expedition organized by Defenders of Wildlife. The tour was led by Hank Fischer, a conservationist who led the effort to reintroduce/restore Yellowstone’s wolf population.

In his book Wolf Wars, which documents the incredible effort to bring wolves back to Yellowstone, Fischer stresses the importance of a restoring to Yellowstone a balanced ecosystem that is dependent upon the intricate interplay of all the animals who live in this magnificent park.

Famed biologist Aldo Leopold recognized the wolf’s importance and advocated, in 1944, for wolf restoration to the western wilderness, where the wolf populations had been exterminated.
As top predator, the wolf plays a supreme role in Yellowstone’s ecosystem.

So it is supremely disheartening that, less than two decades since wolves were finally reintroduced to Yellowstone, they are once again being exterminated by those who seek to hype wolf hysteria and to make wolves “scapegoats” and monsters. They are not.

During my Yellowstone visit 12 years ago, I recall rising at 3:30 in the morning with my fellow travelers, so that we could venture into the frosty wilderness with the hope of seeing, or hearing the plaintive howl, of a wolf pack. I would not have been able to fathom, at that time, that humanity would (again) devolve and seek to kill these majestic animals in what amounts to (in the words of ethologist Marc Bekoff) “wanton killing.”

I support the

I support the re-establishment of the wolf population in and around the Yellowstone area. I do not support the rapid decline and vanishing numbers of elk and deer and cattle outside the park. For those of you who have a romantic idea that wolves should have free reign and roam how do you propose to bring the numbers of these other animals back. One visit to Yellowstone 12 years ago does not make you the expert on wildlife management especially to the particular needs of this area.

brock smith
helena mt

collared Yellowstone wolves

Mr. Smith, since you live in MT I am sure you are aware of the 3-yr. elk study conducted by MFWP in the Bitterroot area. It was shown that mountain lions and grizzlies kill more elk (especially calves in the case of grizzlies) than wolves AND that the stress from being collared for this study killed more elk calves than the wolves did. Wolves are not single-handedly causing the decline and vanishing of elk and deer and cattle. Wolf depredation is responsible for .004 of cattle loss. Don't forget you have elk with brucellosis and it's being transmitted from your beloved elk to MT's other cash cow which affects calf recruitment, in both species. Blaming the wolf instead of wreckless, careless, irresponsible ranchers is way too convenient, bison are also a big scapegoat in MT, too. Having wolves in the wilderness with the elk and deer keeps them moving. Maybe you haven't shot your elk this season? Hunters need to realize they can't hunt the same area year after year and expect to get an elk or deer when the elk have simply moved on to different areas. Even the Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation has said that the elk herds are at or above objectives and are in good health. Why did WY have an elk cull last December? Too many elk!! WY is allowing up to 3 elk to be taken in some areas of the state. Why? Too many elk! If MT is so overrun with wolves then why wasn't the quota of 220 wolves met, even after extending the season an additional six weeks last year? In many studies it has also been shown that reducing predators does not necessarily mean a rise in ungulates. Additionally, the wolf hunts are initiated by politicians, who pressure wildlife agencies to come up with plans to kill wolves...yeah, like politicians are wildlife management specialists. All they know is who will donate to their campaigns. Is that what wildlife management should be based on? I don't think so. There is science behind elk, deer, pronghorn, moose management (hunting) but not for wolf management, except for quotas. The only science being applied in wolf management is math and more specifically subtraction. Also, no one said they were a wolf expert from their visit to Yellowstone 12 years ago, you implied that. It came from a person who has an education and appreciation of what entails a healthy ecosystem and wolves and other predators are necessary in any ecosystem. There aren't many other places to be able to watch wolves in the wild and Yellowstone offers that opportunity. Those visitors contribute millions of dollars to the economies of gateway towns in states that border Yellowstone, which includes MT. You should be grateful instead of spiteful.

I support the

I support the re-establishment of the wolf population in and around the Yellowstone area. I do not support the rapid decline and vanishing numbers of elk and deer and cattle outside the park. For those of you who have a romantic idea that wolves should have free reign and roam how do you propose to bring the numbers of these other animals back. One visit to Yellowstone 12 years ago does not make you the expert on wildlife management especially to the particular needs of this area.

brock smith
helena mt

You, dear sir, are a

You, dear sir, are a moron...

Wolves were there first, perhaps the 'humans' in the area should be culled and controlled instead.

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Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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