Killing Rocky Mountain wolves for any reason short of self-preservation should be morally and legally unacceptable.
The Rocky Mountain wolf population provides much-needed ecological balance to an environment that has been slowly spiraling out of control since the wolves were eliminated in the early part of the 20th century. Wolves also provide a much-needed source of tourism money.
Since the wolves were cruelly exterminated in the 1930s, the elk and deer population surged, causing massive overgrazing and leading to habitat destruction. When the wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, the elk population dropped off, causing vegetation to flourish in areas where it was previously grazed to the ground. Willows began to grow once more, providing beavers with wood for dams. In short, the whole ecosystem flourished.
Clearly, wolves are essential to the health of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem, and with a wolf population of only 1,500, it is essential to protect the wolves. With a subpopulation in Yellowstone of a few hundred, the only population to be fully protected, it is essential to pass legislation banning the killing of wolves.
The generations of farmers and ranchers raised to hate and murder wolves must become a thing of the past to create a truly eco-conscious future. Throughout the Rockies, a loophole in the Endangered Species Act allows wolves that kill livestock to be killed. How is it the wolf’s fault if a rancher can’t protect his cattle?
If a wolf that has no conception of the “crime” of killing livestock eats a cow, how is it responsible? Clearly, this is just another excuse to wreak havoc upon a misunderstood creature of the Earth, and another attempt by egocentric Republicans to destroy the natural world for bloody profits.
Wolves attract more than 100,000 people to Yellowstone a year, making them a major draw to the park. The surrounding area receives more than $35 million a year from wolf tourism. The economic incentive to protect wolves is immense, but the moral obligation is also clear.
Aside from the cruelty of harming such a clearly intelligent and majestic animal, one must look to the future to protect for the next generation the magnificent Rocky Mountain gray wolf. It is truly a crime against humanity to kill such an incredible animal.