The US Government and Congress Must Restore Legal Protections for Wolves

When I was a child, I read that the penalty for killing a wolf in America was about a $1000 fine and a year in jail. Fast forward to today, and the Trump Administration was disastrous for the wolves of America, with 25 Yellowstone wolves being killed in Yellowstone in 2021. 64 Other wolves were killed near the park. In 2021, Montana also allowed the slaughter of up to 85% of its wolf population, while Idaho allowed the killing of 90% of its wolves. In January 2022, it was reported that 500 wolves had been killed in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in recent months.
Wolves are a vital part of the ecosystems to which they are native. As apex predators, they control the numbers of prey and also change the behaviour of prey animals, allowing for the restoration of natural forests, trees, banks and vegetation, which would otherwise be overgrazed by prey animals. This benefits and increases the population of all the native animals in that habitat, from beavers, to rabbits, to hawks and even bears. At a time with such great climate anxiety, wolves can also help to fight climate change by reducing overgrazing and allowing trees and forests to grow and absorb CO2.
Wolf attacks on humans are extremely rare. These beautiful animals are actually very wary of humans. While attacks do occur, there were only about 2-4 attacks by healthy, wild wolves on humans in America between the 1920s and 2005. It is extremely unlikely that a human in America, even in an area that has wild wolves will be attacked by a wolf.
Out of the three states with the most wolves in western USA (Montana, Idaho and Wyoming), in 2014, wolves killed only one cow out of 44,853, along with only one sheep in every 7,193.
Effective measures to manage conflicts between wolves and farmers include:
* Improved animal husbandry practices, such as improving fencing, using livestock guardian dogs or llamas and using other effective, non-lethal and humane deterrents.
* Compensation programmes in which farmers are compensated with sufficient amounts of money for losses of livestock caused by wolf predation.
* The employment of range riders and shepherds to humanely and non-lethally deter and scare away wolves from livestock.
* The education of the public, including farmers and communities that live in wolf-populated areas, on the importance of wolves and dispelling wolf myths, as well as promoting positive portrayals of wolves in media.
* Encouraging collaboration between farmers, wildlife agencies, conservation organisations and other stakeholders to develop effective strategies that protect the interests and wolves and their conservation and the farmers.
* Protecting and conserving more wolf habitat and establishing buffer zones between wolf territories and areas with high livestock density.
* Technology, including GPS collars and remote sensing, to aid in monitoring wolves and better understanding of their behaviour, which can help identify high-risk areas and develop humane, non-lethal and effective strategies.
Wolves are beautiful, amazing and spiritual animals. They are important in Native American culture, and they are loved by many who see the beauty in these amazing, vital and misunderstood creatures.

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