The protection of endangered wildlife is essential, though it’s getting ignored on the whole.
To maintain an ecological balance and keep wildlife populations healthy, it is necessary to protect endangered animals and prevent the hunting of species like the gray wolf that can be viewed as a threat to human capital.
State officials in Montana recently attempted to reinstate an open hunt of the gray wolf, but federal officials denied their request earlier this month. Other states are also pushing to allow the hunt.
Despite the frustrations of farmers and others who are concerned with potential dangers like attacks on livestock or people the animals could cause, federal officials were correct to not allow the hunt.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Daniel Ashe said in a letter denying the request that the Montana hunt would be difficult to implement.
“We fully support sport hunting as an important and effective management tool for wolves managed under state law,” Ashe said. “However, … we have concluded that the likelihood of successfully defending such a (hunt) in light of existing case law is remote.”
While the legality of such hunts against endangered animals may have been key in defeating the proposition, it isn’t the most important reason for doing so.
The gray wolf population is still considered endangered by many environmentalists. It’s gray wolves nature to hunt the prey around them and lawmakers can’t expect legislation to stifle basic animal instincts.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, as of 2008, there were only 1,645 gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains.
A number this low should not be disregarded and justify killing wolves indiscriminately.
Hypocrisy seems evident when it comes to protecting cuter and less dangerous endangered species. For example, the leatherback sea turtle, native to Florida and a trademark of its beautiful beaches, is heavily protected now without controversy.
It seems it is because the wolves are seen as demonizing creatures, the objects of evil in many tales, that they are so heavily targeted by these laws.
While it may be easier to protect animals that pose no threat to humans, it is important to remember that to keep the Earth’s ecosystem in balance, we need to protect the predators, too.
Lindsy Powers is a freshman majoring in biology.