- - Monday, December 2, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The one-sided view of the facts served up in your Thanksgiving Day story (“N.M. students take refuge in bus stop ‘kid cages’ as gray wolf population soars,” Web, Nov. 28) was made clear in the first sentence with the assertion that “by all accounts” gray wolves are thriving in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes regions.

Had The Times interviewed the nation’s top independent scientists who study wolves, these scientists would have said the same thing they have repeatedly said to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Delisting wolf populations and turning management over to state game agencies that already have sanctioned the killing of more than 2,200 wolves risks the creation of isolated, genetically weak and unsustainable populations.

Your piece allows someone who favors dropping wolf protections to assert unchallenged, that all the “facts” support delisting wolves. In fact, the scientific “facts” by which Endangered Species Act protection are by law supposed to be based support maintaining protections for wolves. That’s why in recent years the federal courts stopped politically driven attempts by federal wildlife managers to drop protections for wolves. The facts don’t support doing so.

Citizens who support science-based wildlife management are actually showing up at ongoing federal hearings on wolves mainly to speak up against the glaring lack of scientific support for the premature delisting of wolves. I am a biologist and one of these citizens.

The facts are straightforward. Wolves cause a fraction of 1 percent of livestock losses. Wolves are in no way a risk to humans. Wolves play a well-documented and irreplaceable role in protecting the health of the streams and rivers at the heart of the ecosystems we all depend on for the long-term health of not only our environment, but our economy.

BETH FRATTALI
Washington

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