- - Monday, December 16, 2013

“N.M. students take refuge in bus stop ‘kid cages’ as gray wolf population soars” (Web, Nov. 28) contained errors.

First and most important, wolves do not attack people. They are fearful and shy, and avoid humans. Just research the number of attacks there have been in the Southwest; you’ll find none. There are fewer than 100 wolves in all of the Southwest, so if people have been frightened by a “wolf,” they have probably seen a dog and decided it was a wolf.

One hundred Mexican gray wolves in 15 years is not a robust recovery by any stretch of the imagination. The wolves are hampered by artificial boundaries, relocations, a genetic bottleneck of too few animals to have a broad gene pool, and public misperception, including the wolf cages. These cages are a fear tactic. Call something scary, and say it’s “going to get you” often enough, and people will believe it.

We live in the 21st century. It’s time to pay attention to what real wolves do. They can attack unprotected livestock, but let’s find the best nonlethal solutions to helping farmers and ranchers. Wolves kill deer and elk, too, but they don’t decimate the herds; they cull the weak and sick. This is natural population control.

Wolves enhance the ecosystem, providing benefits for countless species that rely on it. As predators, they keep land from being overgrazed and waterways from being trampled. That encourages beavers, whose pond-building can replenish aquifers.

For most of us, it is simply enough that they are supposed to be here. We think that wild places need to be fully wild, and that means tolerating wolves.

Perhaps those 100 people at the delisting hearing were emotional because they saw 70 years of science being cast aside and recognize the fear tactic of cages that are being built to defend against an animal that has never hurt them.

Lebanon Junction, Ky.

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