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Guess who’s coming to dinner: Wolves

Recently a benefit was held in Scottsdale dubbed “Dinner with Wolves.”  The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, and many environmental groups want the Mexican wolf returned to what they consider the wild landscape of Arizona. They also want to maintain protections for the Mexican wolf by listing it as “endangered.”

Wolves are charismatic, beautiful, and graceful. Their evening howls evoke wonderment in many people. Environmentalists believe that wolves will foster ecosystem diversity and stability.

The Mexican wolf’s historical range was primarily centered in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, and as far south as Oaxaca. Only 10 percent of the Mexican wolf’s range extended as far north as southeastern Arizona.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released Mexican wolves into northeastern Arizona in 1998. The USFWS is strongly considering expanding the release area from New Mexico to California and from I-10 to I-40. That will include 15 counties with a human population of 6.3 million people.

This is not good news for residents in the rural areas of northeastern Arizona who have had their lives, property, and livelihoods adversely affected by wolves since 1998.

Many people are under the misconception that it is only rich cattle barons, hunters, and the hysterically uninformed who object to wolves. They also believe that wolves rarely bother livestock.

The reality is much different, according to written statements submitted to the USFWS and in testimony provided at the USFWS hearing in Pinetop on Dec. 3, 2013.

Most Arizona livestock operations have fewer than 50 cows. It is true that the traditional prey of the Mexican wolf in the wild is ungulates, including elk and deer. However, these wolves aren’t accustomed to hunting in the wilderness. They have been bred in captivity and prior to release, they are collared or fitted with an identification chip, and then they are intensively monitored by the federal government. They are checked for diseases and parasites, and routinely vaccinated and dewormed. They are even fed.

Also, according to the Apache and Mohave County boards of supervisors in Arizona, and the  Catron County Board of Supervisors in New Mexico, and many other organizations,  human/wolf, livestock/wolf, and pet/wolf interactions are numerous and well documented in and near the areas where they have been released.

They stress that it’s important to understand how wolves hunt and kill, something the pro wolf non-stakeholders never mention. Wolves run their prey until it collapses in exhaustion. They don’t kill an animal and eat it. They eat animals alive. Wolves will eat the genitals and intestines and leave the animal to slowly die. They rip out the fetuses of cows and leave the mother animal to slowly die.

Pets have been mauled before the eyes of children in their own yards, leaving these children traumatized. A wolf ripped the head off a cat before the eyes of two young children. A young girl was greeted by the grisly, bloody remains of her pony after wolves entered her parent’s property and chewed it up. A wolf recently entered a yard in broad daylight and grabbed a dog the size of a golden retriever by its neck and dragged it away. That was caught on film. A female bow hunter in a forest in Idaho suddenly realized she was being stalked by a wolf. By the time she grabbed her pistol and shot it in the head, the wolf was within 10 feet of her.

It took only two wolves to slaughter nearly 200 sheep in one overnight killing spree in Idaho, and another similar incident occurred in Montana. The motive of the wolves matters little to the owners of the sheep, and even less to the sheep with their sides ripped open.

These wolves are unafraid of people and have gravitated toward easy prey. Among the many cattle operations devastated by the reintroduction of wolves is the San Carlos Apache Tribe, after the USFWS released wolves next to their reservation.  Wildlife and livestock that have been harassed by wolves are more susceptible to disease and injury, and fail to reproduce at self-sustaining rates.

These harsh realities are the reason for the opposition to Mexican wolves.  It is the reason they are poisoned and killed. When it is a person’s own livestock that have been the victims of the torture and agony of a wolf attack; when it is a person’s own children who have been traumatized by the grisly attacks on their pets by wolves; when it is one’s own family and self that risk a wolf attack, the romance with wolves comes to an abrupt end.

Every person has the fundamental, inalienable right to protect his or her life and property. This right isn’t granted by the Constitution. It just IS. The Constitution merely codifies it.

It is the local government’s responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens, including protecting them from the adverse societal and economic impacts of federal actions. There are several bills making their way through the Arizona Legislature that are designed to do just that. They are sponsored by Sen. Chester Crandell, R-Heber; Sen. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford; and Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff. Some of these bills have many cosponsors. Please thank them and support them in their efforts.

— Anita Christy is an Arizona activist based in Gilbert and Payson and is the publisher of www.gilbertwatch.com and www.gilacountywatch.com  

6 comments

  1. Wow, looks like this person is drinking the Kool-Aid they’re serving up there in Idaho. That state demanded the opportunity to manage wolves within their borders and they are now completely blowing it – you should check out some of the carnage from their killing rampages (proudly displayed in photos all over the internet). Mexican gray wolves are so endangered, one of the only places you can actually see them is at a benefit like the one referred to here. And people should probably learn the difference between wolves and coyotes before they start howling about killed pets and livestock.

  2. C – Are you saying that members of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, who told the USFWS 3 times NO they don’t want Mexican wolves released on their reservation, don’t know the difference between a wolf and a coyote? USFWS released Mexican wolves “next” to the reservation. The wolves were only too happy to eat up their livestock. Cattle ranching is a precarious livelihood for them, and the wolves made it even harder. How about the Apache County, AZ Board of Supervisors? They have written an extensive argument against the Mexican wolf, because of the damage done by those wolves to pets and livestock. Then of course there’s the Catron County, NM Board of Supervisors who also wrote to the USFWS against the release and “endangered” designation. These are the communities where the Mexican wolves have been released. These are the people who have been forced to live with wolves. I’ve seen photos of devastation, too. These are grisly photos of pets, including a little girl’s pony, that have been chewed up by wolves. Hundreds of photos. Wolves love to eat fetuses, alive. You mention Idaho. Fogg Hill is where a couple of wolves slaughtered 176 sheep. The sheepherders don’t care about the motives of the wolf, nor do they care that the sheep were spooked and climbed all over each other and suffocated. And in Montana, a couple of wolves did the same thing when they slaughtered 120 sheep. They barely ate any of them.

    The historical range of the Mexican wolf is 90% in Mexico. Only 10% is in Arizona, and that area is Southeastern Arizona, not Eastern Arizona where they have been released. The “wilderness” does not exist in Arizona. I live 15 feet from the forest in Northern Arizona. Of course, there are those who want to drive everybody out of the rural areas, and remove every cattle rancher, and remove every bit of plowed and settled land. If that’s what you want, just admit it. But don’t tell people who have to live with wolves that they don’t know what they’re talking about. http://www.gilacountywatch.com/index.cfm/blog/crying-wolf/

  3. “Wolves love to eat fetuses alive”? Bigfoot told me that too when he and I were circling Mars with Frankenstein.

    There is not a single case of a Mexican gray wolf killing a person – adult, child or fetus – in AZ or NM.

    And, all jest aside, no, I won’t admit that I want to “remove every cattle rancher and every bit of plowed and settled land,” because that isn’t, in fact what I want. Obviously farming and ranching are important economies not just for AZ, but for our whole country. What would be nice would be for people to recognize that the wolves were there first and were slaughtered and driven from the land to make room for those ranches. What I want is for people to understand that the land can and should be shared. Coexistence is key.

    And come on, why don’t you admit that it’s not really the wolves you’re mad about?

  4. Why is it promoted like some kind of rocket science that wolves and other wild animals *will* come for dinner unless we use our heads? Wolves are also not the only animal on earth that mutilates its prey or eats it alive. Fetuses? You had me rolling with that one. Surely human beings are far better. Look up fetus soup, supposedly a delicacy overseas. If one lives near wildlife and doesn’t supervise their pets & children, and a child happens to witness (or themselves experience) the results, of course it’s terrible but sadly could have been prevented. It should be common knowledge and practice for anyone who lives near bears, cougars, and wolves to take the necessary precautions, i.e. supervise their children and pets if possible, have high fences, etc. Another lesser known example I will mention is that large owls have been known to carry off domestic cats as prey, as well as eagles, in areas near wilderness. Yes, those evil owls. Like those evil wolves. Isn’t it time we all evolved out of superstition and saw things as they are? These are wild animals, capable of wild behavior (not suprising) but supposedly we should just be lazy, kill them all off and not make an effort to live alongside them. What about the White Mountain Apache tribe being directly involved with Mexican wolf restoration? There’s only 37 wolves in AZ currently, yet there might as well be 370,000,000 with the degree of little-red-riding-hood scaremongering and inflated, anecdotal and unsubstantiated claims about these wolves being made. Now the Mexican wolf is Mexican, just like the battle cry of Idaho…their wolves are Canadian. Wolves have migrated and interbred for centuries across the borders modern day people hold so sacred, so from a scientific standpoint, the border arguments are BS. This Guest opinion’s wordage is misleading…AZ contained only 10% the historical range of the Mexican wolf? I suggest you take a gander at this link…courtesy of Arizona’s own Game and Fish Department; looks like a tad more than 10% to me: http://www.azgfd.gov/i_e/ee/lessons/wolves/intro.htm

  5. *eagles and owls have been known to carry off cats. It might have sounded like I said owls carried off eagles. lol just wanted to clarify.

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