Ralph Maughan is a professor of political science at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho, and president-elect of the Wolf Recovery Foundation. He believes there are still reasons to worry:
"There was no need to kill off all of the Whitehawk Pack. That was a very emotional thing, because the pack inhabited probably the most scenic area of Idaho (in and around the Sawtooth National Recreation Area). It was one of the few packs that was visible. And wolf supporters spent thousands of hours last summer keeping that pack and sheep apart.
"The pack had been involved in minor depredations of livestock, sporadically, not much in the scheme of things. That area is good wolf habitat, and wolves will come back into it and, they'll go through the whole thing again. Almost all of central Idaho (wilderness) is occupied by packs now, and there isn't much room for more wolves except in areas where there are livestock and people. Some people think the wolf population (in the region) will level off.
"It's really a symbolic thing. The wolf is seen as a symbol, by many, of undesirable change in the West."
Copyright © 2002 HCN and Guy Hand