Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is an excellent way to raise awareness about critically endangered Mexican gray wolves and the steps needed to help them thrive. Surveys of newspaper readers show that the letters page is among the most closely read parts of the paper. It’s also the page policy-makers look to as a barometer of public opinion.
Salt Lake Tribune
January 5, 2015
Thank you for the coverage on (“Coyote Hunter Kills a Wolf By Mistake near Beaver,” Dec. 29) written by Brett Prettyman. How sad that this had to happen! There is no excuse for an experienced coyote hunter to mistake a wolf for a coyote, especially one that is radio-collared.
It is apparent that the “shoot first” mentality was at work here, and anyone killing an endangered species needs to be punished and fined. The defense of “I thought it was a coyote” does not hold water.
What is even more troubling is the coyote bounty in place through the Mule Deer Protection Act passed by the Utah Legislature. Wildlife science does not support the use of the indiscriminate killing of coyotes as a means of boosting the state’s mule deer population (as put forth as justification for this law by our legislators). Now we have first-hand proof that the coyote bounty is a threat to the state’s endangered wildlife.
The coyote bounty must be repealed! Wildlife management should be based on science, not on special interests such as hunting and ranching loved so dearly by our Utah legislators. Let the facts speak when crafting wildlife policy.
Joan M. Gallegos
Salt Lake City
Last week the Fish and Wildlife service confirmed that the wolf killed in Utah by a coyote hunter was indeed Echo, the wolf that traveled more than 400 miles to the Grand Canyon in search of a mate.Please write a letter for Echo and all wolves. Many newspapers have carried the sad news of Echo’s death. Let’s keep her memory alive and call for stronger wolf protections with letters to the editor. Everything you need is here:
January 27, 2015
Numbers For Wolf Elk Consumption In Error
I read with interest your recent article titled “Range for Mexican gray wolves includes Rim Country.”
While the article is generally balanced and accurate, it contains one egregious factual error regarding the number of elk killed by Mexican wolves.
The article claims that, “(A) wolf consumes about one elk per week, which means 300 wolves would eat about 15,000 elk per year if they lived only on elk. That amounts to about 30 percent of the existing elk herd in the state.” It attributes this information to Arizona Game and Fish Department Assistant Director Jim de Vos.
This outrageous claim is eight times too high, requiring Mexican wolves to eat their weight in elk meat (about 50 pounds) every day!
Before Mexican wolves were first released, I and a team of wildlife biologists, including one from Mr. de Vos’ department, used published science to calculate the daily food consumption of Mexican wolves.
A generous estimate is about six pounds of prey by the average Mexican wolf per day, or about six elk per year — not 50. And given that wolves are avid scavengers, some of their food died of other causes.
So, rather than the outrageous claim that 300 Mexican wolves would devour 30 percent of entire elk herd in Arizona every year, the actual effect would likely be less than 4 percent and some of those elk would have died of other causes, like hunter kills that were never found.
Post-release monitoring has confirmed the accuracy of our estimate.
Note: David Parsons is a wildlife biologist and former Mexican wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Many thanks and congratulations to these talented and dedicated letter writers-your letters make a big difference in the effort to protect and recover our lobos!
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