5,069: The total number of wolves killed by USDA APHIS Wildlife Services from 2004 through 2017 because of livestock predation. This total does not include unreported kills or authorized losses not involving the agency. Be it private or public lands, wolves will be killed, in perpetuum, for the love of a burger, and most certainly when non-lethal deterrents are considered to be in order. A damned disgrace; in states with infinitesimal populations of wolves, such as Oregon, unacceptable.
Oregon is home to 3,930,065 humans, a cattle population of 1,280,000 and a mere 124 wolves, 137 by the end of 2018. Just 137 wolves — and still there is no peace for the predators.
By June/2018, Oregon wildlife officials killed, or authorized the killing of 17 wolves since 2009, including 13 (soon to be 14) over the course of just two years (between 2016 and 2018). Twelve more have been poached, including 8 since 2015. Of those 17 authorized removals, three wolves from the Pine Creek Pack were killed in 2018 (an uncollared yearling female wolf was shot from the ground April 10th, and 2 other family members—another yearling female and an adult male—were gunned down via helicopter on the 18th). All killed, or “removed” as they like to say, for predating on livestock.
Is co-existence possible? With cattle replacing prey species in record numbers, not just on private lands, but also on public lands and even in our forests, this idea becomes an illusion. One needs a place to “exist” in order to “co-exist.” For the very reason wolves were all but completely extirpated from the contiguous United States nearly 100 years ago, they must suffer again.
Did we rescue wolves from the brink of extinction just to kill them all over again? It certainly seems that way. Of course wolves are essential to the ecosystems, but these ecosystems, neccessary for all wildlife to thrive, are littered with livestock and other invasive species. With riparian areas trampled and degraded, the carrying capacity for native species is greatly reduced. One cannot replace natural prey with livestock and expect carnivores to survive without predating on that which is set before them.
Many conservation groups promote “predator friendly” implying it’s a viable model for “co-existence’ between livestock and wildlife. However, there is no way to raise livestock without significant impact to predators and their prey base. Thus predator friendly provides an illusion of guilt-free meat consumption, when the reality is that consuming beef, and to a degree lamb, is the worst dietary choice you can make for a host of reasons that goes well beyond predator survival.
And so it goes, the exploding human population, with an insatiable desire to consume the flesh of another sentient being reaps misery for all, including our planet. And wolves, wild horses, grizzlies, coyotes and many, many more lose their right to live in peace on earth. Indeed, they lose their life.
If you really would like to help save wolves, consider forgoing that steak or burger permanently, and encourage your family and friends to do the same. Take extinction off your plate.
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