Letters and comments for March 5, 2012

By Observer Upload March 05, 2012 05:43 pm
Letters and comments for March 5, 2012

Wolves are welcome


To the Editor:

It was painful to read Jim Ward refer to the scientific studies of Ph.Ds and devoted ecologists as mere “talk” and then read that he reached similar conclusions about the value of wolves from some casual trips to Yellowstone.

Mr. Ward, having dismissed science as “talk,” then tells us that hunters “are keeping the game herds in check” and that wolf management costs too much.

He bemoans that livestock will be lost and “species will all suffer ... funding sacrifices for a couple dozen canines.”

What about the cost to the health of America’s ecosystems when the wolves were eradicated to protect stockmen?

Just canines? Can coyotes or Chihuahuas restore our ecosystems? 

Hunters and coyotes can’t keep ungulates from mowing down our biologically productive riparian ecosystems — wolves can.

Wolves will freely work for taxpayers by helping to restore the riparian and aquatic habitat needed by migratory songbirds, fish and a “myriad of other species” dependent on those habitats. Ranchers can take financial responsibility for protecting their livestock.

He also complains that wolves are taking money needed for controlling the “weed problem ... on our range and timber lands,” while neglecting to mention that domestic livestock and their managers have contributed mightily to that very problem by over-grazing the upland and riparian areas.

As to the probability of seeing an Oregon wolf, some of us already have, and the majority of Oregonians would like to think they might have the same opportunity.

They are also willing to spend tourist dollars here rather than Yellowstone, if only counties like Wallowa would welcome them instead of denying them bed and breakfasts to stay in.

So when we fairly “crunch the numbers” we need to fully account for the valuable ecological and economic assets that wolf restoration can provide.

Wolf advocates and “wolf lovers” don’t stand in the way of wolf reintroduction just because of the wolf’s inconvenience to special interests, or because some will be killed by greedy or thoughtless people.

They welcome the wolves’ return and the help they will provide in restoring what is left of our wild places.

Christopher Christie

Baker City


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