Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation CEO David Allens’s remarks on wolves, “What pro-wolf introduction factions are telling you and what they are not,” are off the mark (Herald, Feb. 13). The trophic cascade effects of wolves and other keystone species like cougars have been convincingly demonstrated in Yellowstone and Zion National Parks. The scientific discussion around trophic cascades involves subtleties like climate change and human interference, not its validity. The latest studies are at http://trophiccascades.forestry.oregonstate.edu/publications.
Trophic cascade effects of wolves will definitely benefit intact ecosystems, like federal public lands. The “recovery goals” mentioned were in fact minimums (10 packs per state for 3 years before considering removing wolves from the endangered species list), not population caps.
Healthy elk herds coexist with wolves. Herds and hunter success in, for instance, Idaho are at or above average. I’m from Northeast Oregon where wolves first entered the state and where the largest number now live. After nine years, elk herds haven’t shown a decline. In fact, elk here are subject to special culling hunts because ranchers complain they are too numerous.
A University of New Hampshire study released in 2015 showed 72 percent of residents in the Northeast Oregon counties most populated by wolves favored a wolf population. These are very rural, very conservative counties.
Oregon stock losses from wolf predation are compensated by taxpayers at full market value, including “missing cattle.” The public also funds non-lethal tools and management practices to diminish wolf/livestock conflict.
My county had seven confirmed losses from 40,000 cows last year. Wolves belong in Colorado. I wish they had been there when I lived in Durango nearly 40 years ago.