County board ignores facts about wolves
May 27, 2015
The Gogebic County Board of Commissioners has chosen to ignore facts by passing two resolutions within the past four months, containing false statements about wolves.
Both resolutions state, “The overpopulation of wolves is threatening the tourism, recreation and business industries in the Western U.P.” There is absolutely no evidence to support this claim. The 2014 U.P. wolf population was 636 animals (down from 687 in 2011) far below the biological carrying capacity.
The International Wolf Center located in Ely, Minnesota (population 3,460), adds about $5.5 million directly or indirectly annually to the local economy and created the equivalent of 66 full time jobs through wolf ecotourism. Further, a USDA Forest Service study found that individuals living in the U.S. are becoming increasingly more likely to observe or photograph nature than they are to fish, hunt, or participate in other traditional outdoor activities http://www.srs.fs.usda.
Both resolutions make the unsubstantiated claim that the “Situation has become a public safety issue.” Wolves pose little risk to humans. It doesn’t matter if wolves are classified as a game species or federally protected, wolves can always be killed if they pose a threat to human safety or if they frequent residential areas and become habituated.
The May 13th resolution claims wolves are responsible for “The deer population decline and our livestock depreciated [sic].” Severe winters, not wolves, have resulted in increased deer mortality rates from the Upper Midwest to New England. This includes states with no wolves: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Pennsylvania. Wolf-livestock conflicts have been low. Over the past nine years in Gogebic County, wolves have been responsible for the death of two calves, one guinea hen, one dog and one hunting hound pursing game. In the entire U.P. there are about 900 farms and 50,000 head of cattle. In 2014, wolves were responsible for 26 verified livestock losses. So far, in 2015, there have been only two livestock losses.
As writer, Christian Bovee, stated, “We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.” This aptly applies to the Commissioners who passed resolutions based on false information, predicated by irrational fear and ignorance. The citizens of Gogebic County deserve better.
National Wolfwatcher Coalition,