Death of Adventurous Wolf, Not an End but a Beginning : Determine the Legacy of Wolf 341F
Death of Adventurous Wolf Not an End, but a Beginning
We were deeply saddened last week when news surfaced that wolf 341F, the lone wolf from Montana that had traveled to northern Colorado earlier this year, was found dead. We don't yet know the circumstance of her death, but what we do know is this: it marks the beginning of a new chapter in the unfolding saga of wolf recovery in Colorado -- a chapter where you and I decide the outcome.
On May 4th, the gray wolf will officially be removed from the Endangered Species List in many states, creating another hurdle for wolves' recovery in the Southern Rockies and threatening their current existence in Idaho and Montana.
The absence of wolves in places like Colorado is already taking a toll on the environment -- and without protections, wolves might vanish from other areas, creating a similar plight. Without wolves chasing elk, wetland trees wither under intense browsing. As go the willow and aspen, so go the beaver that rely on those trees. In short, removing wolves from wild places cascades into a slowly building ecological disaster -- Colorado is already seeing its effects.
You can help. Write a letter to Interior Secretary Salazar today, telling him wolves must remain on the Endangered Species List, and that they need a recovery plan in the Southern Rockies.
Our vision for wolves is protection and recovery, and Colorado's brief visitation by wolf 341F sparked hope. All wolves need is your voice, added to a chorus of howls that will be heard all the way to the nation's capitol -- howls that will ring until wolves again are protected and roam the hunting grounds of their ancestors in Colorado's high country.
Do you share our vision? Do you hear those howls? Listen. Join the chorus.
I am writing to you today on behalf of wolf 314F, a female wolf from southern Montana who wandered over 1,000 miles into Colorado in search of a new home and a mate to start a family with. Sadly, she did not find any wolves to mate with in Colorado, because wolves were eradicated by 1945 -- and because without a recovery plan, it is unlikely that wolves will successfully re-colonize Colorado. Worse, the plans to remove legal protections from wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains threaten to drastically erode chances for wolves to migrate from Wyoming.
Presently, wolves occupy less than five-percent of their former range in the lower forty-eight states. Yet, two separate studies have shown that the Southern Rocky Mountains, which include nearly all of western Colorado, could support over 1,000 wolves. Without a recovery plan, wolves will never reclaim Colorado. Without wolves, Colorado's wild places will continue to wither under burgeoning and sedentary populations of elk and deer; one need look no further than the problems elk are causing in Rocky Mountain National Park to see why we need wolves. Likewise, without legal protections, wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains will never make their way south to Colorado.
So, Mr. Secretary, I join thousands of citizens in urging you to expedite the development of a recovery plan for wolves in the Southern Rockies, and to reconsider your decision to remove legal protections from wolves to the north. The sooner this magnificent and important carnivore has a roadmap to recovery, the sooner we can proudly call them a recovered wildlife species.