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Debates on Releasing Wolves into Olympic National Park

I was just reading an article in the Pennsylvania Daily News about a debate starting up in Washington concerning the possible introduction of wolves into Olympic National Park.  The elk there are starting to cause higher bank erosion by the rivers and streams due to overgrazing and wildlife officials believe that wolves, who were once native to the area, would be able to keep the elk herds on the move and prevent further damage.  Unlike Yellowstone, wildlife advocates do not want to take wolves from Canada or somewhere else.  They prefer to use the wolves that have already wandered into their state by themselves.  Currently, there are 5 packs that are being tracked around the state, and all seem to be healthy and able to find the resources to survive in the area without any help.  Even though this is optimistic news for wolf advocates, this reintroduction is still years away.  In order to gain the community’s support there will need to be lengthy town hall discussions and a management plan written up that both parties will be happy with.  The drafted plan that exists right now already includes compensation for ranchers that have had their live stock killed by the wolves so that is a step in the right direction.  We will have to see how this story develops over the next few months and years but one more national park with wolves in it would be a great victory for the species in the US.

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