HCN has once again provided Hal Herring with a forum to promote his personal views on conservation (HCN, 5/30/11). Though little emphasized by Herring, the complete lack of cooperation by Wyoming to support recovery, along with the embryonic wolf populations in Oregon and Washington, has created a difficult situation for legal and balanced application of the Endangered Species Act. And wolf-haters have for years stoked the fires of conflict whenever and wherever wolf recovery has been considered.
The wise bipartisan governance that provided the foundation for the ESA and large-scale protection of natural areas is long gone. And state wildlife agencies are largely dependent on financial support from a narrow political base. But the expected benefits to local economies of the 100,000 "dickybird" wildlife enthusiasts who come to Yellowstone each year to watch wolves outweighs the costs of wolf recovery.
In these turbulent times, it is not surprising that the relatively few citizen-activists dedicated to the protection of wildlife and its essential habitat may occasionally differ on best strategies, or that outcomes may sometimes appear counter-productive. Those who carry the banner for many others do not need armchair naysayers to pronounce judgment on their efforts. Ray Ring's notion that "local control" will turn wolf-haters into wolf-lovers seems naive.