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.
Recently, the Albuquerque Journal published received so many letters opposing traps in Mexican wolf country that they published nine in one issue, under the title “Howling Mad.”
EQUIVALENT OF LAND MINES
“¦ My family and I find the use of leg hold traps in wolf country to be appalling. We’ve lived and continue to live close to BLM lands, kept chickens, raised goats, sheep and pigs for a living and kept dogs. We had to have the legs of two dogs amputated because of leg-hold traps, had animals maimed by these traps die on our property, and have seen desiccated remains of animals in leg-hold traps in the wilderness.
Leg-hold traps pose a significant risk to endangered Mexican gray wolves, and the decision by the New Mexico Game Commission to restore trapping in wolf country is recidivist and ill-informed. The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife, as well as scientific and educated study groups, have shown that all predators, including the lobo wolves, are essential for western ecosystems. Large predators improve the rangeland by keeping the rodent, elk and deer population in check.
It is unacceptable that a small group of individuals with personal and political agendas can claim to speak for the seven in 10 New Mexicans — as polls show — who support wolf reintroduction.
BACK TO THE 19TH CENTURY
We are saddened that New Mexico has withdrawn from the Mexican gray wolf project and is now allowing the use of cruel traps in wolf habitats. Unfortunately, this state has now joined other western states in eschewing the humane wildlife management of the 21st century and reverted to the 19th-century policies of cruelty, slaughter and extermination. These actions reduce wildlife management to myth, misinformation and political paybacks rather than management based on humanity and science.
Wolves serve an important service to managing a healthy ecosystem, hence why the Creator placed them here prior to man. Moreover, there is no evidence that wolves now or have ever poised a threat to the safety of humans.
Therefore, we urge New Mexico to return to practical, humane and scientific wildlife management techniques. The state of Oregon provides an excellent model of wolf management that utilizes public education, scientific management and collaboration of all of the stakeholders. We need to restore reason, balance and sanity to wildlife management.
DENNY and DENISE HOLLAND
ONLY SAVAGES ARE HUMAN
Wolves belong, too!
New Mexico “game managers” are devoted to enhancing the supply of big game targets. They are also promoting the commission of one more major atrocity against life on earth and in New Mexico. This is the annihilation of the Mexican gray wolf.
By their recent actions, they are utterly engaging in the sabotage of Mexican gray wolf recovery. Their acts clearly undermine the Endangered Species Act by ending any support. Now they are determined to allow trapping on the very public lands where wolves live and where nine wolves have already been trapped.
Fish and game departments are supported by the hunting fraternity and others who profit from letting the blood of living creatures, such as livestock breeders and ranchers. The savage, ruthless killer is not the wolf. It is ourselves. We have made the wolf a scapegoat. The wolf does not pose a threat to other species and is neither a danger to nor a real competitor of man.
A wolf is seen as a contrived image, complete with evil aspects generating pathological fear and hatred. Fish and Game protects game animals from their natural predators so sport killers can find a sufficient number of live targets.
The wolf completes the ecosystem, providing a vital role in maintaining the long-term well-being of its prey species. It is not a threat to human beings, and is responsible for only minor losses of livestock. It is very fearful and will not live in proximity to human settlements or agricultural enterprises. The wolf should be respected and honored as part of the natural world, as are we.
BETTY J. PRITCHARD
BLOOD ON RANCHERS’ HANDS
With sorrow I read that Game and Fish first of all removed New Mexico from supporting wolf recovery without letting New Mexicans vote on it, and now at Clayton, a remote area where wolves do not live, voted to allow trapping of wolves on their own territory. That is like planting traps on these members’ yards and waiting to see if a leg got caught in a trap. Can you imagine the outcry!
Wolves are God’s creatures who were here long before New Mexico was settled and have trouble surviving with three legs. The people voted in an anti-environmental governor, friend to ranchers who hate wolves as well as other wealthy special interest groups and appointed four wolf-haters to Game and Fish. Ranchers are compensated for livestock killed by wolves, so what is their beef?
Let’s get our legislators in action to correct this injustice.
Thanks to the Albuquerque Journal for supporting our wolves. Fight on!
BY THE WAY, IT’S OUR LAND
I would like to thank the Albuquerque Journal for supporting the ban on leg traps in our national forests, our land! I am a former wildlife biologist, having worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and when I was there I found that in areas where wolves were, there were healthier populations of game animals. I also have personally lost one of my dogs to traps here in New Mexico, which became trapped and had to be put down, again on our lands, supposedly public lands! The majority of the New Mexico public is against traps on public lands.
I thought the New Mexico Game Commission listened to the people and supported scientific studies. Apparently not.
MAJORITY OPINION IS IGNORED
I am disappointed to see that the New Mexico Game Commission has recently removed the ban on leg-hold trapping in southwest New Mexico, where the Mexican wolf is struggling against the odds to regain a niche. The commission is certainly not representing the majority of the state’s residents — 69 percent of whom support wolf reintroduction.
While the trapping is not targeting wolves specifically, it cannot but affect the Mexican wolf. When these devices are placed in their habitat, wolves will step into them. There are fewer than 50 of these creatures in the wild now, and 24 of their kind have been maimed by leg-hold traps since 2002.
Studies have made it abundantly clear that large predators have a beneficial effect on ecosystems and watersheds where they maintain a decent presence. Certainly giving Mexican wolves all the protection we can will have great effects to the environment once there is a viable population.
In recognition of the losses of cattle ranchers it is important to keep in mind that overall loss of cattle to wolves is very low. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a compensation program for wolf-related losses. In addition, Defenders of Wildlife has a wolf coexistence program, working closely with
ranchers to avoid losses of their stock. “¦
EMILY A. LEE
NATURE KNOWS ITS BUSINESS
Thank you for the support against the leg traps. It is awful that the game commission is wanting to lift the ban when so many people are against it. The wolves are very important to our ecosystem. If we control their population, then deer and other animals that the wolves eat will be out of control and we will have big problems. Australia discovered this when it brought in a frog to control a creature and now they have too many frogs and nothing to control its population. Humans need to stay out of the way of nature and let it take care of itself. Nature does a great job.
COURAGE THESE HUMANS LACK
To trap wolves or any animal by use of any type of trap is not only inhumane; it is a slap in the face to the American public. There is no good reason for this crude and dastardly tactic. Nationally, endangered wolves are being shot from planes and helicopters, poisoned in their dens and trapped.
In case of the Mexican gray wolf, there are only about 50 remaining in New Mexico and Arizona. The decision by New Mexico game commission last week to allow leg hold traps is incredibly wrong. Those responsible should be held accountable by the public. Ranchers can be compensated for their occasional loss of cattle, wolves are not a threat to humans when they are left alone, and they are a necessary element in the ecosystems across the globe. They also happen to be one of the most beautiful and majestic creatures of God’s creation. They have been used in so many representations of stealth, cunning, devotion and courage on badges of our soldiers, sporting teams and private groups across the world.
LIVING IN THE DARK AGES
Wolves are a necessary part of a healthy ecosystem, as they help keep watersheds and ungulates in balance. There are several reports that explain this. Biologists know that once the Mexican wolf is fully restored, the health of the Southwest ecosystem will improve. It is science. By saving the Mexican gray wolf, we just might be saving our state’s ecosystem.
“¦ It’s the ranchers’ inability to manage their herds properly that is swaying our (game managers) to refuse to participate with the federal government on (their recovery). The rest of the world must laugh at us because we have such a barbaric and medieval attitude toward wolves. It’s embarrassing. As with everything in life, we need balance.
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!
These letters provide an opportunity to submit letters of your own-you can submit a letter to the Albuquerque Journal here.
The letters above originally appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. You can read them there by clicking here. (Non-subscribers can scroll down and use the trial access button)