14 Mar 2010, 8:39pm
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NatGeo’s “Wolf Wars” Flacks for Radical Greens

by William F. Jasper, New American, 11 March 2010 [here]

“Wolf Wars,” the cover story for the March 2010 issue of National Geographic, may seem, at first read, to be a “balanced” report on the ongoing battle pitting ranchers, hunters, recreationists, and conservationists of the Rocky Mountain states against Big Green environmentalists and Big Government (federal and state) bureaucrats. Author Douglas Chadwick does, after all, seem to report sympathetically on the plight of ranchers like John and Rae Herman of Montana’s Hot Springs area, whose 800-head Angus cattle operation has been hard-hit by wolf predation. However, like most media reporting on wolves, his article hymns the supposed overall benefits of the reintroduction of Canis lupus to the ecosystem.

Chadwick’s National Geographic piece also follows the typical media route of uncritically accepting the numbers provided by government agencies that have a history of fudging the facts and a concentrated interest in continuing to cook the books. “During 2008, wildlife agents confirmed 569 cattle and sheep deaths from wolves throughout the West,” he reports. “That amounted to less than one percent of livestock deaths in the region.” However, there is abundant anecdotal evidence that the aforementioned “wildlife agents” often go to great lengths to minimize and drastically undercount the predation by wolves. This writer has interviewed ranchers in Idaho and Washington over the years who have recounted many instances in which state and federal wildlife personnel have disputed and dismissed livestock losses that were indisputably due to wolves.

A rancher who comes upon the half-eaten carcass of what was shortly before a prize Angus knows that he is not automatically going to be compensated by the state/federal wolf compensation fund, even if the carcass is surrounded by wolf tracks and wolf scat, and even if he or another person earlier witnessed a wolf or wolves attacking or harassing cattle in the area. The wildlife agents are likely to claim that the evidence points to wild dogs, a bear, or a cougar as the culprits, rather than wolves.

Chadwick halfway acknowledges this problem, noting: “Many say in some areas the actual kills by wolves may average as high as seven for every one that can be proved, but no confirmation, no compensation.” Of course, if the totals were seven times the reported number, we’d be talking about 4,000 cattle, not 569, and considerably more than one percent of cattle deaths. The same goes for sheep, as well as the wild ungulates — deer, elk, moose, sheep, caribou — whose populations are being devastated by the wolf packs that are rapidly multiplying throughout the West.

Chadwick also accepts without question the official wolf count for the Idaho-Washington-Montana region, even though some game biologists assert that the actual wolf population is double the official census. According to Chadwick, the wolf population has “now grown to around 1,600, roaming the region in more than 200 packs.” However, as we pointed out last November in an extensive article on wolves (”Wolves Will Thrive Despite Recent Hunts”), there is reason to believe the real number is 3,000 — or more. We reported on the work of Professor Charles Kay, a renowned wildlife biologist, and linked to several of his articles exposing the fraudulent data and manipulative methods used by government bureaucrats and enviro-extremists posing as scientists to justify increasing restriction on human access to, and use of, both public and private lands. … [more]

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