Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

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Letters to the Editor and Others

Non-violent wolf control
To the Billings (MT) Gazette

7/27/03

To The Editor:

The July 24 edition of the Gazette reported on the tragic death of an endangered grizzly bear cub in a trap set for wolves north of Cody, Wyoming.

The Fish and Wildlife Service set the snares in an attempt to catch wolves who were preying on livestock. Rather than solve the problem of wolf predation non-violently, Fish and Wildlife resorted to the easy way out - setting snares. On behalf of our more than 100,000 members and supporters nationwide, Wildlife Watch, Inc. urges the Fish and Wildlife Service to employ exclusively non-violent methods of wolf control in areas in need of such a service.

Wolves have long been unfairly stigmatized as blood-thirsty killing machines. Wolves do not fit any of the terrible stereotypes attached to them, and their gentle temperament complex social structure are deserving of our respect and admiration. Given that this is the case, one or more of several effective solutions to wolf predation should be employed by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, electric fences, guard dogs, llamas and donkeys can be used effectively to prevent wolf attacks.

Llamas can easily scare off wolves and will prevent attacks by positioning themselves between the wolves and livestock. Donkeys can also keep wolves at bay. Donkeys dislike dogs, coyotes, foxes and wolves and their loud braying, baring of teeth, kicking and biting, will be effective in causing wolves to look elsewhere for a meal.

Snares are indiscriminate and will kill any animal unfortunate enough to become entangled in one. Snare stops do not prevent this killing because if a stop is set to hold a wolf, any animal with a larger neck, such as an endangered grizzly bear cub, will loose their life to a snare.

Clearly, non-violent solutions to wolf predation exist. We encourage ranchers, the Fish and Wildlife Service, everyone else to explore these options and implement them where needed. Peaceful co-existence with wildlife is preferable to violent eradication programs.

Joe Miele

Wildlife Watch, Inc.

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