Thank you to all who have submitted letters!
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.
Below are some recent letters that have been published.
Thanks for backing wolf
Thank you for your editorial “Give wolves a chance” (Opinions, Tuesday).
Some ranchers, feeling increasingly marginalized, economically and culturally, have fastened on wolf reintroduction as a symbol of all they believe wrong with federal management of public lands in the Southwest. But we can’t let their animus drive public policy. Arizonans support wolf reintroduction, and the economic future of the wolf-recovery areas lies in recreation and tourism, not ranching.
Grazing on public lands — at roughly one-fifth of fair-market value — cannot be allowed to squeeze out other important values: righting a historical and biological wrong by restoring an apex predator to an ecosystem ravaged by a century of overgrazing.
Wolves, as they have in Yellowstone, will help restore Arizona’s public lands. Reintroduction should be accelerated, in cooperation with those ranchers willing to make it work, rather than being held hostage by those who are not.
Paradise Valley, AZ
Pols' hostility toward wolves the result of lobbies
The Standard-Examiner’s article of June 13, “USU wolf expert: State can manage wild animals better than feds can,” misleadingly implies that the majority of Utahns do not want wolves back in Utah. Polling data cited in the Utah Wolf Management Plan indicate otherwise.
Utah politicians’ hostility toward wolves reflects their support from the agricultural and hunting lobbies, not what Utahns want. I want to hear wolves howl in the Uinta Mountains and the Abajo Mountains.
Salt Lake City, UT
Wolf article was off-base
J.W. Harris of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission spins the facts in congratulating ranchers and the Game and Fish Department for positive achievements for wolves (“Positive impact of Mexican wolf program is overlooked,” Opinions, Saturday).
All 75 of the Mexican gray wolves on the ground are wild-born because Arizona Game and Fish dissuaded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from releasing any captive-born wolves since 2008, despite scientists’ urgent calls to diversify the gene pool of wolves in the wild to stanch inbreeding that is causing smaller litter sizes.
The increase in wolf numbers over several years reflects the welcome end of Arizona Game and Fish’s imposition of punitive rules to kill wolves suspected in livestock depredations. Conservationists’ litigation forced Fish and Wildlife to decide which wolves to kill rather than relying on the state’s rigid formula.
The wolves deserve the credit for staying alive and even increasing their numbers slightly. For Arizona Game and Fish to credit itself and the livestock industry is incorrect.
Range of the wolf
Although U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel Ashe declared victory by stating "Wolves are recovered and they are now in good hands," I share serious concerns with the 16 scientists with expertise in carnivore taxonomy and conservation biology who believe delisting is terribly premature.
The feds are gauging gray wolf recovery solely on the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes wolf populations. Under the Endangered Species Act, it is obligated to recover an endangered species across a "significant portion" of its historic range.
In recent years, wolves from Canada have crossed into Maine and traveled miles south into the southern Rocky Mountain states of Utah and Colorado. Wolf OR-7 became a media sensation when he became the first wild wolf to enter California in more than 80 years.
By stripping federal protections from wolves nationwide, these pioneers in historically occupied areas may never be able to establish viable populations despite suitable habitat and availability of prey.
Through the Endangered Species Act, our country gave wolves a second chance. Second chances are rare. Should we be willing to throw them away?
Science of wolves
I admire The Tribune for boldly standing up for wolves only months after Utah’s Legislature voted to give money to Don Peay to lobby against wolves ("Value of wolves: Feds must maintain some oversight," Our View, June 11). If wolves are removed from the list of endangered species nationwide, this would mean no protection for wolves entering Utah or any other state.
Take a look at Yellowstone National Park since wolves were reintroduced. Many plant and animal species, absent for decades, have reappeared now that wolves are back.
In recent weeks, many independent scientists have spoken against the delisting of the gray wolf. Many citizens have spoken up as well.
This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. What a tragedy it would be, and how demeaning it would be to the spirit of the act, to give up on a species before it has recovered and conceivably condemn it to extinction.
Extinction is not God’s plan for the wolf. He placed every species here for a reason. Every species has value to God, because he created them. That includes wolves.
Big Game Forever, Wildlife Resources and creative attorney Ryan Benson convinced the Utah Legislature they should get $300,000 to "pursue legal and legislative solutions" regarding gray wolves, which have not been reintroduced in Utah.
In other words, Benson gets paid by the Legislature to contact legislators and others to exercise authority over a non-existent gray wolf. I really wonder how Benson spent the $300,000 the Legislature gave this year — and the $300,000 it gave last year. Can’t wait to read the summary report he is required to submit to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources by June 30.
If the feds do remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered species, how much more money will Utah’s Legislature have to provide to manage a non-existent wolf? Many state officials would manage the gray wolf using the law firm of Colt, Smith & Wesson.
Alden H. Laney
Salt Lake City, UT
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO SPEAK FOR WOLVES!
Below are several articles that provide letter to the editor opportunities.
New York Times Editorial Board on Wildlife Services aka "The Killing Agency"
(talking points included)
Cut off tax funds to anti-wolf group –Salt Lake Tribune
(talking points included)
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Photo credit: Rebecca Bose, Wolf Conservation Center