Recently, the Department of the Interior removed Grey wolves (Canis lupis) living in the Rocky Mountain region from the endangered species list. They are also seeking to de-list grey wolves in the western Great Lakes region.
Basically, de-listing a species speaks of the stability of a given species population. That is, the population has recovered sufficiently to buffer the species from either natural or man-made occurrences or events which may impact it.
Sometimes however, the removal of a species such as the grey wolf from the endangered species list can be wrought with passionate controversy. There are those who are comfortable with the decision and those who are not. Many concerned individuals and organizations fear the de-listing places the wolf in harm’s way, possibly leading to future decline. They are also concerned that public attitudes regarding the wolf may possibly deteriorate. Certainly, these are valid concerns.
Any endangered plant or animal species whose life from birth to death is cradled within the language of a management plan may some day be de-listed. Management plans are designed and implemented with that goal in mind. Most of us feel relieved whenever a species in trouble is given protection and assistance at local, state, and/or federal levels. But sometimes we forget that managing a species such as the grey wolf inevitably entails making hard decisions once the population increases to a particular level.
We ask grey wolves to exist in harmony not solely with the natural world but with us and therein lies the difficulty. As humans, we vary greatly as to our lifestyles and occupations, cultural and religious perspectives, and values. It is unlikely that there are species managment plans that will satisfy each of us.
For the grey wolf and those who live in contact with it, we must endeavor to facilitate the best possible balance in less than favorable circumstances. It’s through open communication, respect, and education of all partys concerned that we can accomplish the goal of ensuring a future for the grey wolf in the wild.
Mitakuye Oyasin . . . We are all related
For more information on grey wolves visit the International Wolf Center‘s website at: http://www.wolf.org/ and Defenders of Wildlife at: http://www.defenders.org
If you are visiting or live in the Phoenix area, visit the Phoenix Zoo‘s mexican wolf exhibit. For more information go to: http://www.phoenixzoo.org/