Midwest Wolves Fall Prey to PR Scam

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in late January that there are now enough gray wolves in the wilds of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan to warrant taking the wolf off the federal roster of endangered and threatened species in the upper Midwest.

About 4,000 wolves now roam across the three states, according to the agency.

Real conservationists see another Endangered Species Act success story. But slob hunters and apologists for land-abusing industries–including those who’d rather let Safari Club International chapters do their talking–are salivating over their gun sights.

The Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association, in cahoots with SCI and an outfit called the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association, needed only a day or two to roll out a 30-second “Little Red Riding Hood” TV ad it plans to air through the rest of this year.

“People used to believe that wolves lived in remote forests, but the reality is that the wolf population has exploded to the point where they are now wreaking havoc on cows, sheep, dogs and property,” SCI’s Bob Welch said in a news release which the Madison Capital Times newspaper quoted Jan. 30.

I checked the Web site of the Capital Times and could find no archived stories there about this alleged “wreaking of havoc” by big bad wolves. A Google search turned up Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources data detailing a whopping 54 cases of wolf depredation in Wisconsin over 23 years (1976-1998). Do the arithmetic. That’s slightly more than two depredation cases a year for 23 years.

So much for the “wreaking of havoc.”

Put it into perspective. More cows and sheep–far more, in fact–perish from disease and weather.

But SCI and its fellow fear-mongers (did they read Karl Rove’s political campaign playbook?) see attacks on calves, sheep, turkeys, and hunting dogs as just the first step toward more horrific tales.

“[T]he danger may be closer than you think,” the spot’s announcer says over video of children on a playground.

Wolf haters like SCI’s advertising reps keep trying to document wild canid attacks on humans, but with scant success. That’s because the alleged attacks are hearsay.

“It’s really playing on the fear factor,” Pam Troxell of the Timber Wolf Alliance told the newspaper about the TV spot.

It’s conceivable that a rabid or healthy wolf attacked and/or killed a human somewhere sometime since Columbus stepped ashore. The closely-related coyote has occasionally been known to attack people, but in most of those cases the animal was rabid.

If SCI is going to issue these public safety advisories, it should also warn us about the much greater danger of poodle attacks and man-eating garter snakes while encouraging the public to don hardhats for protection against meteors.

Keep in mind that pro-wolf groups don’t resort to children’s fables like the three little piggies to make their point.

But, hey, it’s the shark-bite syndrome again.

Anyone who watches cable “news” programs knows the scenario:

A hammerhead bites a young, vivacious teenager in the surf off a hotel-studded beach somewhere in the South.

The media–print, electronic, Internet–subsequently go crazy to the point of colliding satellite trucks.

Soon, reporters (most wearing windbreakers emblazoned with their stations’ fancy logos; even though it’s 90F under beach umbrellas) show up, interviewing anyone who remembers talking to someone who talked to someone who talked to someone about the alleged “shark incident.”

The story grows new legs for longevity when Bill O’Reilly and Rush accuse “enviro-Nazis” of overturning regulations that would have saved the “victim.”

Yes, we should all begin wearing hardhats for protection against rocks falling from the sky.

Oh, but what about other threats, like ticks and Lyme disease?

Check this PDF file. Then look in vain for mention somewhere of SCI alerting the gnome-like public to be careful in tick country.

Oh, and what about those pythons squirming across Florida swamps?

Where was SCI’s leadership in informing the public of that threat?

No doubt there are similar sets of data for poodle attacks.

Some of the best remaining big game habitat in the lower 48 is also home to wolves. And these wild places offer the best fair-chase hunting opportunities.

But then slob hunters and their kin don’t care about the fair-chase aspect. They only want the trophy. And they can’t stand the thought of wolves doing what God told them to–eat deer and elk.

ALAN GREGORY writes from the wolf-free state of Pennsylvania, where he crafts conservation columns for a daily newspaper. Retired from the Air Force, Alan grew up in Idaho — alas, before wolves returned to the mountains.

This article originally appeared on Lowbagger.org, the best website for environmental news with an edge.


More articles by:

February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband