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Letter: Don't take gray wolves off endangered species list
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I am writing to express my concern about the proposed removal of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List in the lower 48 states. This would be a serious mistake. After being reintroduced in the '90s, research shows this animal has yet to reach its biologic carrying capacity. Remove the gray wolf from the list now, and we could easily be right back where we were before they were reintroduced. Give the wolves a chance. We need them!

Wolves are a critical part of a balanced ecosystem. After wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone and surrounding areas, they cut down on the coyote population, which was killing sheep. Since then, sheep losses have decreased. Coyotes killed the majority of mice in Yellowstone before the reintroduction; afterward, mice became plentiful for the local wildlife. In the riparian areas, where elk overgrazed and caused erosion of river beds, the wolves "incentivized" them to move to less open ground. As a result, aspens, cottonwoods and willows have rebounded in many areas. This has improved the habitat for songbirds, beavers as well as birds of prey.

The wolf has not encroached on man, man has encroached on the wolf. Delisting will hurt more than help.

Sheldon Smith

Salt Lake City

16pt 1-line deck with period.
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