Wolves' real enemy is misinformation
To the Editor:
In his letter published April 3, Joe Allen claims pro-wolf groups are the real enemy of wolves. I would hope Allen understands that eliminating the sick, injured, weak wolves strengthens the deer herd and wolves have the potential to control/eliminate diseases such as chronic wasting disease.
Allen should know there is no evidence to support his claim that wolves are causing deer, moose, elk or beaver populations to “disappear.” He is promoting this unfounded argument to support a wolf hunting season.
The Department of Natural Resources cites a variety of diseases and trauma associated with accidents, not wolves, as the leading causes of death for moose.
Research indicates there is a greater diversity of native plants and birds in areas where there are wolves. Wolves cause deer to stay more mobile so they do not overbrowse. This allows vegetation to grow especially in areas where deer may feel threatened.
Only a small number of the 131 wolf packs have ever been involved in livestock depredation and nearly half of all depredations over the past three years have been at one farm. Killing non-depredating wolves can cause disruption to pack hierarchy and may lead to increased depredation.
The best way to manage problem wolves is to remove the individual animals causing the depredation and for livestock owners to follow best management practices to reduce the risk.
Michigan has a wolf management plan which allows for lethal control of wolves when non-lethal measures, such as donkeys and fencing, fail. Livestock owners and their agents can kill a wolf in the act of attacking livestock.
Wildlife services can also kill wolves, and if a landowner has had a prior depredation, a permit can be issued allowing for the killing of any wolf on his property. Producers receive compensation for livestock killed, injured or missing due to wolves.
These measures will continue if the ballot measure is successful.
Allen claims a hunting season will create added revenue. However, fiscal analysis for Public Act 520, designating the wolf a game animal, acknowledged that the fiscal impact is indeterminate and officials within the DNR have said a wolf hunting season would not be a moneymaking proposition.
It is irresponsible for Allen to suggest that the lack of a hunting season will lead to hunters violating the law. The real enemy to the wolf is misinformation being propagated by those who should know better.
Nancy Warren, Ewen
Great Lakes regional director, National Wolfwatcher Coalition