Letter: Utah’s record has a dismal, anti-science bent when it comes to wolves

This June 3, 2020, image released by Colorado Parks and Wildlife shows a wolf on a CPW-owned game camera in Moffat County, Colo. Wolves have repopulated the mountains and forests of the American West with remarkable speed since their reintroduction 25 years ago, expanding to more than 300 packs in six states. (Colorado Parks and Wildlife via AP)

I read with great interest Brian Maffly’s recent excellent article, “For Utah, the war on wolf protections seems to never end.”

As the planet confronts the looming catastrophe of climate chaos, along with the ongoing global “Sixth Extinction” — both human-caused — the imperative to protect and restore wildlands has never been more apparent. As the overwhelming credible science demonstrates, carnivores, including wolves and cougars, play a crucial role in sustaining the ecological integrity of public lands and forests owned by all Americans.

Ranchers have the privilege to graze their livestock on our wildlands at a rate heavily subsidized by taxpayers, including the significant ecological costs associated with cattle or sheep’s seemingly ubiquitous presence.Credible science shows that farmers and ranchers lose nine times more cattle and sheep to health, weather, birthing and theft problems than to all predators combined. The science, as well as the experience of ranching operators, demonstrate that proactive, nonlethal precautions will effectively protect their livestock from predation.

Wolves require hunting of deer and elk to survive, but they do not appreciably reduce game animal populations as experience and the science again and again shows. I’m a Vietnam War veteran, former Navy SEAL and no longer hunt, but like most of the state’s citizens I enjoy my wildlife alive (only 10% of Utahns hunt).

Utah’s record, like too many other western states, has a dismal, anti-science bent when it comes to carnivores. The only chance that wolves can return to their ecologically crucial role in America’s wildlands — and that includes Utah — is to protect them under the Endangered Species Act.

Kim Crumbo, Ogden

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