Mexican Gray Wolves and Ranchers
This post is from the Double Circle Ranch website.
My friend Kaisa was here at Double Circle Ranch for a few days. Kaisa is from Finland originally but has become a dual citizen here. Kaisa is a passionate and dedicated wolf advocate. Helping herd Texas Longhorns on a ranch in wolf country is something she never expected to do. She has been in many meetings where there is a lot of animosity between pro-wolf and anti-wolf groups. All too often that translates to environmentalists vs. ranchers. Times are changing – and for the better. Many environmentalists and ranchers are seeing the benefit of working together for overall range health. The endangered Mexican Gray Wolf, with only about 40 animals in the wild, used to be an important predator in our area. It is impossible to tell how much the potential loss of this wolf would affect the ecological balance in our country. I for one don’t want to take the chance that losing any endangered species – plant, prey animal, fish, insect, bird, or predator – won’t have repercussions throughout the ecosystem. Extinct is final, and it can’t be changed later.
Double Circle Ranch has never had a wolf kill. Cattle and wolves can coexist. But it requires extra time and labor – which of course means extra expense on the part of the rancher. We try to ride and herd our cattle daily. The presence of human activity in the cattle herd seems to prevent wolves from preying on the livestock. Any time you can prevent a wolf kill rather than compensate ranchers for wolf losses, you are helping the wolves adapt to feeding on wildlife instead of livestock. The wolves don’t learn to use cattle as a feed source.
So this is where Kaisa comes in. She was open minded enough to put on boots and a cowboy hat and herd cattle. She wanted to see first hand what many ranchers do to coexist with the wolves. She turned out to be a darn good cowhand too. So – a cowboy’s hats off to Kaisa! We need more people like her to work making the Mexican gray wolf recovery program a success – for the wolves and the people on the landscape.
Please submit a comment to tell Wilma and the others running the Double Circle how much their willingness to be good stewards by sharing the land with Mexican wolves is appreciated.
Photo credit: Cowhands Wilma and Kaisa - Herding Cattle in the Snow courtesy of Double Circle Ranch