The news for bears and wolves, I’m afraid to report, isn’t good — in fact, it’s damn distressing. The Obama Administration has endorsed a perfectly miserable federal bill, S. 3525, that is a grab-bag for the hunting lobby, and Congress seems hell-bent on passing the so-called “Sportsmen’s Act of 2012.” The bill before the U.S. Senate has a provision that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from restricting the use of toxic lead shot ammunition, and one other that would allow American hunters to import the heads and hides of polar bears they shot in Canada, even though the species is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The New York Times panned this atrocious bill in an editorial, in an attempt to shame the many Democrats and Republicans who seem intent on supporting this political sop to the hunting lobby.
Meanwhile, the hunting fraternity’s assault on predators and rare species occurs on other fronts, too. It was reported this week that hunters in Idaho and Montana have shot and killed at least seven radio-collared wolves from Yellowstone National Park (they were being monitored by wildlife scientists in a study of the predators). The wolves are among more than 500 shot and trapped this fall in the Northern Rockies and the Upper Great Lakes in the greatest assault on the species in the lower 48 states in more than 75 years. The HSUS is battling to prevent a wolf hunting season in Michigan, while some lawmakers there strain to pass a bill in the final weeks of the year. “It has taken nearly 40 years to restore the state’s gray wolf population to an estimated 700 animals,” wrote the Lansing State Journal in an editorial this week opposing the season. “Initiating a hunting season so quickly, when there are other measures that can be taken, would be overreacting.” In fact, according to Jill Fritz, HSUS state director for Michigan, on Nov. 27, citizens will gather at the state capitol to tell lawmakers Michiganders oppose a wolf hunt in their state.
That sentiment is equally true for the hapless wolf victims in Minnesota and Wisconsin and in the Northern Rockies. But pandering politicians in the administration, Congress, and a handful of state legislatures don’t seem to care about wolves. They somehow think the American public sides with the hunting lobby on this issue. You don’t seem to agree, and have had a lot to say about our past and announced efforts to stay the hunts:
With the money behind them (DNR, NRA) how in the world can we possibly stop this backward step of cruelty? I am so saddened and angry over this killing for fun. —Alice Miller
We need the wolves alive. They balance nature and the deer and elk herds. —Ann Marie Kelly
This senseless killing must stop — it is cruel and denotes an unfortunate sadistic tendency in human beings. Congratulations and keep up your wonderful work. —Jorge-Luis Batista
Thank you HSUS and Fund for Animals for filing the lawsuit; I live in northern Minnesota … I cannot believe that anyone would want to kill such a magnificent animal for its hide. I have seen wolves in the wild, and there is nothing to describe it except I get goose bumps every time! —Cindy Doe
I'm desperately sad about the current wolf killing sprees in this country. How can people be so heartless? —Lor Woods
Total insane tragedy. It breaks my heart, especially thinking about the sadness of their families. That is a very powerful discussion. We all know about family tragedy, and it's so easy to transfer your emotions to the pain we can imagine for the wolf's family. You have become the conscious for all of God's families…a special angel of mercy. —Andrew Bello
This wolf hunting and trapping is just sickening. The picture of that 14-year-old girl with a dead wolf in front of her really saddened me. This is not even an animal they killed to eat — not that it is necessary to eat our wildlife. This wolf had a pack, a mate, and possibly pups. Also wolves are necessary in the ecological picture. What are people thinking? —Ann Nevans
I wish this administration would put wolves back on as endangered and end trophy hunting of wolves. —Caroline
I was reading the article about hunting of wolves and we now have a hunting and trapping season here in Minnesota. It’s really disgusting to hear people talk about wolves like they are preying on people and should be wiped off the earth. It makes me sick and now the latest movie out has wolves in it as going after people…when will we ever learn they will not harm us. —Sheila Cunningham
I think the livestock industry is mostly responsible for this push to hunt wolves as they have a fear of predators, even though their losses to predators are less than one percent of their entire industry. They also benefit from almost free grazing on public lands. I think if they are not satisfied with free grass, then remove their cattle from public space and pay for grazing somewhere else. Public lands are shared by all …[they] are not for the primary production of beef cattle. Predators belong there, cows do not! —Claudia