UPDATE: No Wolves Killed in Idaho Derby

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UPDATE: No Wolves Killed in Idaho Derby
wolf

Photo: flickr

Earlier this week, we reported on a wolf and coyote derby held last weekend in Salmon, ID, that offered $1,000 prizes for killing the largest coyote and wolf. Though hunters successfully shot 21 coyotes, we are relieved to report that no wolves were harmed during the contest. Unfortunately, nothing is stopping future events of this nature now that wolves have lost protected status in Idaho.

Last weekend’s derby sought to raise awareness of a type of tapeworm, Echinococcus granulosus, that is found in wolves and can transfer to livestock and pets who ingest their feces. Though wolves have become a scapegoat for this problem, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game reports that the parasite was found in Idaho sheep, and likely existed in the state before wolves were reintroduced from Canada.

Farmers blame wolves for spreading disease and hurting their livestock, but they would be wise to consider the roles of natural predators in the ecosystem. Wolves’ diets typically include big game such as deer, elk and moose, and smaller animals like mice. Knowing that deer and other prey animals are responsible for the lion’s share of agricultural losses, farmers should have more respect for wolves for culling these pests.

If hunters were unable to shoot a single wolf during last weekend’s derby, is their population really large enough to cause concern? Maybe if they let nature take its course, they’ll find that predator and prey animals do a good enough job of balancing themselves, and disturbing this balance may hurt them in the end.

Chrissy Spallone is a writer, illustrator and trading card artist from the South Jersey Pine Barrens. Her art and comics have appeared in The Black Warrior Review, The Salt Hill Journal and various underground collections, and she regularly contributes science fiction and horror-themed trading cards to Monsterwax. In her spare time, Chrissy enjoys volunteering at the Collingswood Bike Share, making meals from farmers' market findings, coffee shop culture, nature walks and playing with her beloved pets.

  • ericmills

    It ain’t just Idaho, folks. These obscene wildlife killing contests are held in California, Oregon, New Mexico, Wisconsin, New York and elsewhere. Nor is it only wolves and coyotes. Other targeted animals include bobcats, foxes, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, woodchucks, crows et al. These bloodbaths serve only to give ALL hunting a bad name.

    Legislation is in order to ban these indiscriminate massacres, and now’s the time. Most state legislatures reconvene in early January. Contact your state reps and ask them to introduce the needed legislation. (If unsure who your reps are, see the “Government” pages in the front of your local telephone book.)

    President Obama, the Secretary of the Interior, and members of Congress also need to hear from an outraged public.

    Here’s a timely poem by former U.S. Poet Laureate William Stafford:

    “MEDITATION”

    Animals full of light
    walk through the forest
    toward someone aiming a gun
    loaded with darkness.

    That’s the world: God
    holding still
    letting it happen again,
    and again and again.
    ——————————————-
    Well, GOD may hold still for this nonsense, but that doesn’t mean that WE have to. Get active!