Guest opinion: Tester’s actions should reflect the truth on wolves

Wolf
Wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have stirred passionate debate between supporters and those who would like to see the animals removed from the landscape.

billingsgazette.com

STEPHEN CAPRA

This past year Montana’s governor and the Legislature, led by representative and trapper Paul Fielder from Thompson Falls, passed a series of reckless bills aimed at decimating the wolf population in our state, despite the fact we have record numbers of deer and elk requiring extra-long hunting seasons.

Testimony at the Legislature warned legislators that if they passed wolf slaughter bills, the federal government would intervene. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife is undertaking a 12-month review of the wolves’ status to determine relisting the wolves as endangered. Currently the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks — in desperate need of reform — has decided to allow anyone with a license to kill 20 wolves, 10 by shooting and 10 by trapping. Our state is sanctioning the torture and eradication of animals of tremendous intelligence and beauty. Destroying packs, which will lead to more livestock depredation, is designed to make wolves the cultural enemy.

But it’s not just Republicans who can hang their hat on this slaughter. If you examine the process, you can’t avoid seeing the handiwork of U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. It is Sen. Tester who moved to delist wolves and return them to state control in 2011, an effort that has proven to be a disaster. But Tester has long seen his tough reelections dependent on killing wolves, not thriving wildlife. His actions against wolves are a disgrace and deserve more sunshine and less double talk.

Many people I have spoken with believe wolf protection flows through the Interior Department. That is true to a certain extent, but it seems clear that the Interior Secretary would like to reinstate protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho. The problem seems to be coming from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency that will soon have as its director a person shepherded by Jon Tester — Martha Williams, former director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Williams’ reign at FWP showed little support for wolves and more talk than action about moving the agency out of the stone age and into the real world of allowing species to be self-regulating. There was no action to curb the rampant power of the NRA and trophy hunting and trapping organizations that control the agency and directly fund its narrow mission.

Now, thanks to Tester, Williams will be appointed director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after only a few years in wildlife management. The reason is simple; Tester does not want wolves placed back in protection. Tester’s refusal to meet with constituents on this seems based on the mistaken belief that he understands the will of people across Montana on the issue of wolves.

Tester does not understand the love for, emotion and passion that people bring to the table in their support of wolves. His written responses to constituents are tone deaf to concerns. He ignores the financial power wolves generate for Montana.

It’s not easy to be hard on a senator who has done so much for Montana. His votes on infrastructure, health care and many important issues have been bold and important, but his efforts to stop the protection of wolves need to be challenged.

Wildlife is the real treasure of the Treasure State, and wolves are valuable not only economically and environmentally, but also for disease control. Chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis are on the rise. Can we really afford to destroy wolves, the only known defense?

Most Montanans, including ranchers, find the wolf slaughter repugnant. The time has come for leadership that allows wolves to coexist.

Senator Tester, this is your chance to get right with wolves.

Stephen Capra is executive director of Footloose Montana.

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https://billingsgazette.com/opinion/columnists/guest-opinion-testers-actions-should-reflect-the-truth-on-wolves/article_8a9cecf1-109e-56df-9c7e-8390e49133b4.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share&fbclid=IwAR3M_zE_irM-gWLJKWtOqaxXJtzq1bEfY0aqUAfpoY9c7qRv4ZyQYNeLot8

5 comments on “Guest opinion: Tester’s actions should reflect the truth on wolves

  1. Reblogged this on Zero Lift-Off and commented:

    The wolf is one of my best and most endearing friends ever on this earth and God made them for that very reason as far as I’m concerned! Here is an excerpt from a short essay I wrote a few years ago after a beautiful wolf that actually had not caused any difficulties or trouble of any kind for civilization was eking out its existence while attempting to produce more of its kind hopefully over time in an ever hostile and uncaring modern world where too many heartless and selfish people won’t consider the great travesty they have caused in our Natural Environment for wildlife and how even now with so much knowledge of forethought from experience some people will commit a crime against the Wolf of killing it for blood Sport!

    In my Heart and Soul…

    I love all animals but have a special place in my heart and soul for the Wolf which one of my all-time favorite authors who I adore, Jack London, wrote about in his Epic Masterpiece “CALL OF THE WILD.” I just think of the story now and along with my good imagination and memory hear the call of the lone wolf in the wilderness which I have heard and had my own sled breed dogs that could howl that way and I cry right now thinking of this! What a gift from GOD the CREATOR who gave us all of this magnificence and I’m crying now with broken heart and damaged soul by what I see happening in this world;
    God Bless All of His Creatures Great and Small.

    Lawrence Morra III

    https://lawrencemorra.com/2018/12/11/i-hear-the-call-of-the-wild/

    Like

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