April 05, 2020

Peaceful co-existence

How ironic it is that at the same time [letter writer Jim Busque, Dec 13-14] is accusing environmentalists of using the wolf to promote their agenda, he is using the wolf to promote his. By his own admission, “our greatest threat is how the preservationists will use the wolf and our Endangered Species Act to change our lives.” According to a survey developed by our organization and administered by the University of Maine, just 26 percent of respondents agree that wolf recovery in Maine will harm private property rights.

Wolves can co-exist in Maine with legal hunting, trapping and timber harvesting, and vice-versa. Wolves do not require wilderness. Timber harvesting and wildlife management practices that benefit moose and deer also benefit wolves. There is not a single documented case of a healthy wild wolf killing a human being in North America. Although wolves sometimes kill dogs, wolf-dog contact can be disastrous for wolves as they are susceptible to diseases such as canine parvovirus and distemper.

Mainers are no strangers to wild animal-dog conflicts. In recent years, a bear, a cat (lynx-mountain lion) and an owl have all killed dogs in Maine. Minnesota has more than 2,000 wolves and some 7,000 farms with livestock in wolf range. On average, less than 1 percent of these farms suffer wolf predation each year.

Wolves are legally protected in Maine. Unfortunately, that has not prevented them from being killed. We can work to promote their acceptance, however, by gathering and disseminating the facts and by presenting those facts in their proper perspective. If 30 million Canadians can co-exist with 50,000 wolves, we can co-exist with wolves as well. I believe we will. John Glowa Maine Wolf Coalition South China

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