Wolves are a “hot button” subject for many people, who tend to love them or hate them. This visceral response to wolves makes it difficult for some to follow the legislation regarding wolf management in the wild.
Wolves were all but eliminated by trapping and hunting in the lower 48 states by the 1940s. Complete extermination was prevented by the enactment of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Today, states allow a specified number of adult wolves to reside and reproduce. Now, Oregon is sanctioning the killing (hunting) of two of the remaining wolf pack originally reintroduced, for preying on livestock.
Our wildlife populations must include predators in order to keep the landscape diverse and balanced. The complete removal of one species hurts the overall health of those remaining.
Financial losses are painful for any business. It is far more effective to try to prevent and avoid conflicts between stock and wildlife than to just kill wildlife after the problem has taken root. Oregon and Washington plans for wolf conservation already include proactive, nonlethal methods of control such as modified husbandry methods and non-lethal deterrents, as well as reimbursing livestock owners for the loss of cattle.
We are coming full circle back to complete extermination of another species.