Friday, October 08, 2010
predators on the home front
When I was reading about the spread of wolves, neat as I found them to be in the wilderness, valuable as their presence is to keep wildlife in balance, I could not help but think that if they were where I live, I'd not be raising any livestock.
That kill was of a 500 lb. heifer which is pretty good sized and in an area of small ranches. I know there are many who would be thrilled to have wolves in the Cascades and Oregon Coast range. I'd rather drive to where I can see them and believe that ranchers on their own land should have the right to kill what attacks theirs. Wolves cannot differentiate that a cow is to be left alone. To them, it's just a slow moving elk.
Then before I could post this topic somewhere, I got an email asking me to sign a petition to save the wolves. It appears that someone is saying they will be killing wolves from airplanes in Idaho, destroying whole packs, because of the damage they are doing to the wildlife and the livestock in that region. It is one of those lose/lose topics as I see it.
Some think ranchers' losses are okay and should not be considered because the rancher is paid for the killed animals. There is no money that pays for that kind of loss. Nothing kills as cruelly as a wolf and the description of how that happens in the above story is accurate as I know it. They don't have to kill fast like a coyote. And you cannot scare off for long predators by shooting and missing. I can tell you that from my own experiences with the coyotes.
I guess if everybody either wants to be vegetarians or eat meat that is raised in feed lots, they won't care about this and will be signing these petitions. If they live in the city, they won't come across a wolf anyway. So much of what is being done is based on political considerations and right now an environmental, love the wolves viewpoint is part of the landscape of the left. I do understand that but this is idealizing what wolves are, City folk are most prone to do this for all the big predators like the grizzly bears which some also want reintroduced everywhere.
The photo at the top is a lone wolf in the Lamar Valley. A ranger was at the place where people were stopped on the road to watch. They are one of the thrills to see while there.
The photo at the bottom is a coyote at a probable elk kill in the upper end of the Lamar Valley. Traffic was stopped for people to watch, some of whom thought it was a wolf. It's not and you can tell by ears and nose. It is unlikely the coyote killed the animal but it's making the most of the wolves' absence. I have seen this view more times than I can count when it was a sheep being eaten but then it's not a camera I am reaching for. I am sympathetic to predators, understand they must eat. More on this topic next blog.