Strait From a Senator’s Mouth

Thanks to Wolf Watcher I found this article that was written by Utah’s republican Senator Orrin Hatch.  He voted to delist the wolves in 2009 and now is pushing for the same to happen to Mexican Grey Wolves, the most endangered species of wolf in the US.  He claims that it would demolish the ranching community which is a 1.5 billion dollar industry in Utah.  Not mentioning that wolves are only being reintroduced in areas that might effect 1% of rancher in that total.  Please comment on the article or write him directly to show how much you disagree with his statements.  here is the entire article.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an editorial submitted by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and does not necessarily represent the views of St. George News.

When people say the wolf is at the door, they are typically using a popular idiom to indicate they have fallen on hard times. But that expression could become more than a figure of speech in southern Utah if the Obama administration has its way.

With the federal government falling short of its goal to reintroduce 100 Mexican wolves in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now proposing to greatly expand their numbers and place them outside their historic range where the consequences could be dire. And the scientists appointed to look at expanding the scope of Mexican wolf reintroduction efforts have Utah’s Dixie squarely in their political cross-hairs.

As part of their proposal to “reintroduce” 750 Mexican wolves, these scientists want to have a self-sustaining population of 250 wolves in southern Utah and northern Arizona – places that fall well outside the predators’ historic range. How can you “recover” Mexican wolves in areas where they have not been?

Now I realize geography covers too much ground to be understood by many in Washington. But I expect better from the Administration and its appointed scientists, who are kowtowing to environmental extremists and ignoring multiple scientific studies that confine the northern extent of Mexican wolves’ historic range to Arizona and New Mexico.

Just as egregious, the agency wants to list Mexican wolves under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as a “subspecies,” which will prevent Utah and other states from managing the predators if they wander outside of their historic range. Utah wildlife officials say this could lead to a re-listing of gray wolves in parts of Utah where they have just been delisted because the ESA requires unprotected species to be treated as endangered if they look similar to protected species such as Mexican wolves.

Furthermore, the ESA prevents a species like the Mexican wolf from ever being delisted and turned over to the states for management until it is no longer endangered in “all or a significant portion of its range.” Since 90 percent of the Mexican wolf’s historic range is in Mexico, which the Administration’s recovery plan does not address, there is virtually no prospect of that ever happening.

So what would be the consequences to southern Utah? Without any means of controlling the Mexican wolf or protecting livestock, the losses to our state’s farming and ranching industry, which accounts for $1.5 billion in sales every year, would be severe. The same is true of elk and other wildlife in southern Utah. The reintroduction of gray wolves in Yellowstone has taken a big bite out of elk numbers there. Placing a similar number of wolves in and around Utah’s Dixie, where elk and big game animals are not nearly as numerous, is irresponsible.  Once the elk are gone, the wolves will move on to livestock – just as gray wolves have and continue to do since their reintroduction in 1995 to Yellowstone and northern Idaho.

It is past time for Washington bureaucrats to turn wolf management over to the dedicated state professionals who have a proven track record of managing elk, deer and other wildlife. The federal government has no business foisting Mexican wolves and other non-native species on Utah. I am committed to continue to do all I can to ensure that they don’t.

Mexican wolves clearly do not belong in Utah. State officials say they don’t want them. Neither do ranchers, sportsmen and others in southern Utah – and they are not just whistling Dixie.

– Sen. Orrin Hatch is a member of the Senate Western Caucus

Here is the link to the article if you would like to comment on it.

I submitted a comment which I also posted below.  We will see if the moderator lets the comment be viewed on the page.

To: Sen. Orrin G. Hatch

There has been overwhelming evidence that wolves and humans have found ways to get along, wolves are good for the ecosystem and are helping keep it healthy for our children and their children. The elk population is stronger than ever in the Yellowstone area of the Rockies thanks to the wolves taking the weak and wounded elk. They are helping to restore the elk population to a balances level that existed before humans settled in the area. I am not an anti hunting advocate, I support hunting as long as you are taking an animal to use as food. What I am against, as well as more and more Americans every day, is the killing of animals as “trophies” which is what you are doing to wolves. You have failed to mention that wolves bring in an estimated 7-10 million dollars a year in tourism to the states surrounding Yellowstone. You have also fail to mention that domestic dogs have been taking more livestock than wolves since their reintroduction. Should we kill all domestic dogs as well to preserve the rancher’s way of life? It is no longer acceptable to plead ignorance to push your anti wildlife agenda. Just the other day the the Wood River Wolf Project released its statistics showing that with simple preventative measures they have only has 20 sheep killed by wolves over the 4 years they have been in action. That is 5 sheep a year! It is already a tragedy that a population of 1,600 wolves spanning over 2 entire states is considered a “healthy population.” Now you are recommending that a species of wolf than has numbers in the wild of less than 100 should be turned over to the state to be managed? Please stop using your political power to wipe out wildlife and with it an ecosystem that is already in a fragile enough state as it is. I’m sure you would prefer your grandchildren to ask what it was like to have wolves living in the lower 48 but for me at least I would prefer my grandchildren to be able to experience that for themselves.


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