Problem: Since the beginning, wolves have been persecuted out of fear and hate. They were nearly pushed to extinction within the continental United States when millions of wolves were trapped, poisoned, and shot during the early 20th century. Today, due to successful conservation efforts, the future of wolves is brighter with numbers rebounding to more stable populations in some areas of their historic range. However, this growing population allows ranchers, hunters, and politicians to believe that wolf numbers are too high – They believe wolves should be killed! In Alaska, wolves are even hunted by airplanes. This senseless murder of wolves does not stop at full-grown wolves, but also the young suffer as they are dragged out of dens to be killed as well or orphaned.
Where: This persecution of wolves is a problem wherever wolves are found. In the US, it is the Gray Wolf, which suffers the most at the hands of hunters and ranchers. The Western States where the wolf has been reintroduced or has survived in its native habitat are the areas of conflict.
Why do people kill wolves: There are several reasons why people kill wolves, yet they all stem from hate and misunderstanding. Ranchers, who have themselves encroached on wolves’ territory, believe that the wolf is the one that does not belong. Hunters have a love for killing for the sake of killing. No apex predator such as the wolf should be killed in this way (poison, trapping, aerial hunting, etc…) These animals not only deserve our respect, but also serve the greatest role in the ecosystem where they are present. When wolves are removed and hunted mercilessly, all animals suffer.
How you can help: Spreading the word about the importance of wolves and the problems they face is the greatest step for wolf conservation. With a growing number of people who love and respect wolves, we can stop the wolf murders! Also, check out http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/wildlife_conservation/imperiled_species/wolves/take_action.php for more info and to take action to save wolves!