Sunday, July 14, 2013

Letter: Wolves need protection

Published: Sunday, July 14 2013
In this undated photo provided by Jayne Belsky via the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, is a gray wolf in a wooded area near Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
Associated Press
Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife wants Utah taxpayers to give them $300,000 to pay Washington lobbyists to fight wolf reintroduction in Utah. (Since when is the wolf not wildlife?) The proposal was made by Sen. Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, in a meeting of the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee and received enthusiastic support from the group's founder, Don Peay.

Incredibly, not a single member of the subcommittee asked why such an extravagant appropriation of taxpayer money to a special interest is warranted, given that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has never proposed reintroducing wolves to Utah and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources did not support the request. Wolves might disperse back to Utah naturally to resume their vital ecological functions, but that is another matter. In any case, in 2005 the Legislature adopted a wolf management plan in anticipation of that eventuality.

For a state chronically on a tight budget that has fallen to dead last in per-pupil spending on education, this waste of taxpayer money would seem foolish at best, malevolent at worst. Utahns do want wolves here, and they deserve protection. Every state with wolves now has nothing but excessive hunting, trapping and killing.

Tracy Swenson