ECO: Wolf recovery program is sham?

From: Technotranscendence (neptune@mars.superlink.net)
Date: Sat Mar 24 2001 - 09:45:04 MST


THE LIGHTHOUSE: March 19, 2001THE LIGHTHOUSE
"Enlightening Ideas for Public Policy..."
VOL. 3, ISSUE 11
March 19, 2001

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IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE:
1. Wolf Recovery Program is a Bureaucratic Sham, Ecologist Claims
2. Defending Free Speech on Campus
3. Put Global Warming Science on Trial
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WOLF RECOVERY PROGRAM IS A BUREAUCRATIC SHAM, ECOLOGIST CLAIMS
Given the popularity of wildlife calendars sold each year by environmental
organizations, these groups clearly know a sellable cause when they see one.
Unfortunately, the politics of wildlife protection sometimes runs roughshod
over the science of wildlife protection.

To reduce political opposition from hunters and ranchers, for example, the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) significantly understated the number
of wolves it hoped to reintroduce to the northern Rocky Mountains --
downplaying the wolves' likely impact on mule deer and other potential prey,
according to Charles Kay, a wildlife ecologist and research fellow at The
Independent Institute, in a report on wolf recovery now available on the
Institute's website.

The USFWS stated that only 300 wolves were needed for sustainable recovery.
But based on information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Kay
says that "the agency has failed to conduct or review the appropriate
studies to justify this number."

To maintain a sustainable, genetically diverse wolf population, Kay
estimates that 1500 to 2000 wolves would need to be reintroduced. But
because wolf populations can reproduce quickly and disperse hundreds of
miles, a seed population this large would threaten deer, elk and livestock
herds throughout the entire northern Rockies.

Kay also argues that the agency's small-scale wolf recovery program begun in
Yellowstone National Park a few years ago will endear photogenic wolf pups
to the public, increasing political support for larger recovery programs and
a larger budget for the agency.

Kay views this as a political maneuver by a self-interested bureaucracy more
concerned with gaining power than with protecting endangered species.
Unfortunately, says Kay, other environmental agencies also have misplaced
priorities.

"Currently about $100 million is being spent annually by state and federal
agencies to protect endangered species. Over one-half of the total, though,
goes to less than two percent of the species listed as threatened or
endangered," writes Kay.

"Instead of spending its budget on the animals and plants most in need of
protection, the agencies spend their funds on 'charismatic megafauna' such
as grizzly bears and wolves. This may garner the agencies public support,
but it does little to protect the majority of endangered species," Kay
concludes.

See WOLF RECOVERY, POLITICAL ECOLOGY AND ENDANGERED SPEICES, by Charles Kay
(The Independent Institute), at
http://www.independent.org/tii/lighthouse/LHLink3-11-1.html.
To order a printed copy, see
http://www.independent.org/tii/lighthouse/LHLink3-11-2.html.

For more on endangered species, see "The Endangered Species Act: Who's
Saving What?" by Randy T. Simmons (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Winter 1999)
http://www.independent.org/tii/lighthouse/LHLink3-11-3.html and "Fixing the
Endangered Species Act" by Randy T. Simmons (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Spring
1999) http://www.independent.org/tii/lighthouse/LHLink3-11-4.html.

Copyright 2001 The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428
(510) 632-1366 phone
(510) 568-6040 fax
info@independent.org
http://www.independent.org



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