I read the recent article published in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer titled "The Wolves Next Door" regarding wolf management. The article creates the fear that wolves will “spill over” into urban backyards, feeding off pets and livestock. Wolves occupy suitable habitat where remote forested locations allow them to raise their young in safety. As stated in the article, wolves that are involved in conflict with livestock and pets are already killed without the need for hunting. Hunting and trapping for sport is not needed for wolf management, but is intended to appease citizens who feel strongly against wolves.
I am a biologist and a large carnivore advocate. I received my fisheries and wildlife degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from Murray State University. I am ashamed to call myself a Minnesotan after reading this article that advocates for fear and widespread wolf control. I grew up in Rothsay and recently, wolves have made it down to Fergus Falls. Do not take away their progress.
Minnesota DNR does not conserve wolves, or even offer to protect them. It keeps them just above population numbers in which we might need to list them under the Endangered Species Act again. The DNR's plan increases the killing of these intelligent animals. Keeping wolves out of federal control is the goal, rather than allowing wolves to exist in numbers that fulfill their ecological role. Wolves are an integral portion of our food chain and deserve to be managed in ways that align with their own biology. They take out slower/diseased deer and very rarely attack dogs and cattle. These are pack animals with cooperative family units that have culture and relationships. When one or most members of a pack are destroyed (killed), the whole pack suffers. Pups need to learn about what to hunt from their parents and when parents are killed, the pups are more likely to scavenge for food near urban/farm areas.
This article perpetuates the fear and continued hunting of wolves. No one needs to shoot a wolf for sport. It is no one’s right to kill them. They are not a source of food. Native Tribes should be allowed to continue hunting traditions and should be consulted meaningfully on wolf management. But, in nearby Wisconsin’s first wolf hunt this year, the Ojibwe tribes took the moral stance of not killing their diminished brethren. Their concerns were not meaningfully addressed or respected. Minnesota must learn from Wisconsin’s mistake and do better with our own Tribal neighbors, whatever their stance on wolf management may be.
Please grow a heart and rewrite your wolf management plan. Sixteen hundred is not enough. This number does not keep wolf families together, and it will not help kill unfit animals in our explosive deer population of 950,000. How about we talk about reducing the number of humans killed each year in auto accidents involving deer by allowing wolves to fulfil their ecological role, all the while not killing members of wolf families?
Let start using real science, not fear, to manage wolves.
Nissa Rudh lives in Rothsay, Minn.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.