By Amelia Lipcsei
Wolves hold great importance to the balance of the ecosystem; in Yellowstone, the reintroduction of wolves to the park in 1990 restored vegetation and significantly increased the amount of smaller mammals living in the area. However, in Idaho, Governor Brad Little approved a new legislation to allow the hunting of wolves. With this legislation, professional hunters can hunt wolves using almost any method; snowmobiles, helicopters, snares, etc. Kim Heacox, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award, conveys that “Idaho is going to kill around 90% of its wolves [with this policy].” The killing of an amount this immense would knock down the population from around 1,500 to 150.
Little believes that the legislation will make Idaho a safer place for cattle and farm animals, while also allowing elk and deer populations to thrive. However, the state’s overall elk population has actually increased by 3% with the introduction of wolves in 1995. Likewise, livestock has also barely been affected by the “wolf excess,” with cattle losing 1% of their average population and sheep losing 3%.
The extermination of these beautiful animals may harm the ecosystem more than it could ever benefit it; especially considering how wolves positively impacted Yellowstone’s animal population. To read more about the legislation and other ways to help wolves in this crisis click here.