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View Diary: Morning Feature: DK GreenRoots - Wolves and Predators (143 comments)

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  •  NCB - (4+ / 0-)

    I think you are one of the best bloggers here -
    But I have to disagree with you on this one.

    Any person who has had experience with predators, especially with wolves, knows that wolves which prey on livestock cannot easily be dissuaded.  Livestock are like the McDonalds of the prairies.  Wolves, like any other predator, seek out the easiest prey opportunities - if for no other reason than to conserve energy and improve odds of success.  Sheep are really, really good odds.  Cattle pretty good.  Not to mention that the livestock are also fenced - even if the fences enclose 40 acres.

    I don't think you realize what it takes to work on a ranch.  Unemployed people from Chicago are not likely to be able to ride horseback - even ride ATVs - into the range to do what you suggest.  And would be clueless as to what to look for.  To train them would be prohibitively expensive - whether for the government or for the rancher.

    And, please, if anything it is the rancher who assumes costs of unproven kills - not vice-versa.  I fear that you have already made your mind up on  this issue given your earlier comment about the Svensons and your statement above about ranchers "gaming" the system.  The fact is - as confirmed by the Defenders of Wildlife data - that reimbursements have increased dramatically over the past decade. One would expect the reimbursements to increase given the twenty-fold increase in wolf populations.  Actually, if wolves have exhausted their potential wild range, one would expect depredations to increase far more than population since an increasing number of wolves would not have ranges.

    Unless you and many of the others commenting here think ranchers should assume a greater and greater burden of wolf recovery - to the point of losing their ranches - then, sooner or later, predator control for wolves must come into play.  If not now in five years.  If natural increase is 25% per year, how can it be otherwise?

    Sooner or later numbers will force wolves to predate.
    Sooner or later there will have to be lethal control.
    Please, show me how it can be otherwise.

    PS -
    A federal reimbursement bill, introduced by Sen. Tester (D-MT) and Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) is working its way thru Congress.  ttp://

    •  Discussion that earns we MF'ers our good rep.... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, winterbanyan, NCrissieB, kktlaw

      ....that's Morning Featurerers, of course.

      Information, reason, mutual respect of positions, on point, on topic, and if I had my druthers on to the top of rec list.

    •  We disagree less than you assume. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnnygunn, winterbanyan

      The purpose of my diary was not to suggest that wolves should remain on the endangered species list forever, nor that controlled wolf hunting is always evil.  It's not.  My point was first to celebrate this success of the Endangered Species Act - unlike some who say it's done no good whatever - and to help change attitudes toward one of the world's most amazing and important species.

      We've given the wolf a horrible reputation, one the wolf did not earn, and I think that reputation and modern practices of "factory ranching" over animal husbandry fuel most of the controversy.  If we can recognize and celebrate the wolf's vital place in the ecosystem, it can put livestock predation in a better perspective.

      Livestock kills are inevitable.  We can mitigate that, in part by better animal husbandry practices and in part by maintaining a stable balance in the wolf population, but we can't and shouldn't try to eliminate livestock predation completely.  The challenges of humans living and practicing animal husbandry among wolves - both for us and the wolves - are inherent in nature.  Accepting those challenges as part of life, ones we can mitigate but never stop completely, is a necessary step in recognizing where we human beings fit in nature's order.

      Would more labor-intensive, traditional husbandry practices raise food costs?  Yes, and that too is part of recognizing where we humans fit in nature's order.  As others have noted throughout, we've used artificially low food prices to subsidize markets for conveniences.  Simply, Americans live above our means.  We're 5% of the world's population consuming 25% of the world's energy.

      That's not a sustainable ecosystem, whether that "eco" is short for economy or ecology.  More of us need to do more physical work, with more activity powered by human energy rather than other sources.  The late 20th century paradigm of "Americans think and others sweat" can't last.  We need to do more of our own "sweating" - and esteem those who do - including survival-essential jobs in agriculture and animal husbandry.

      Pieces of solutions are there.  We have work that needs doing and people who need work.  Yes, many workers will need training.  Yes, it will require capital.  But we Americans will also have to change our attitudes on physical work, and stop treating that as something others should do for us.  We can do all of those things, but not if we continue to treat those challenges as ones we shouldn't have to deal with at all.

      Tomorrow and Saturday we'll look at challenges of mass transportation, which isn't automatically as green as many assume.  It lower our carbon footprint, but for that to work we'll also have to accept some challenges as part of being alive.  We will have to learn to respect nature's mandates of openness, diversity, and resiliency ... in how we plan our time and our travels.  We'll have to give up some boundaries, simplicity, and efficiency.

      That's not saying things have to get "worse."  It's saying we need a saner vision of what "better" is.  When it comes to our living among wolves, "better" is recognizing that human can't replace what wolves bring to the ecosystem, so we must learn to live with them and accept that challenges like livestock predation are an inevitable part of our real place in the natural order.

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