Feds release wild wolves into populated area without informing residents

The attitude toward wolves has evolved over the last couple of hundred years.  Originally despised and feared, as their numbers dwindled, they became a symbol of wilderness beauty – unless you're a rancher raising sheep or cattle.  Then wolves are nothing more than pests a threat to your livelihood.

But to the animal lovers in the Department of Interior, the effect of wolves on ranching and the safety of residents never seems to be taken into account.  That's why it's not surprising that, according to an Interior Department audit, the feds neglected to inform residents in several New Mexico communities when they released wolves back into the wild.

Washington Free Beacon:

An official in charge of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program, which was established to conserve the species, was found to be protecting wolves she considered “genetically valuable,” even though they posed a danger to residents in the area.

The agency’s inspector general released an audit last month detailing how the former program coordinator covered up complaints against a wolf that posed a “human safety hazard.”

Team employees in Catron County “deliberately avoided documenting complaints to protect certain wolves,” the inspector general found. Allegations made by the Catron County Board of Commissioners were confirmed by Fish and Wildlife Service employees.

“As an example, the county employee described an incident involving one male wolf, serial number M1133, that had been captured in a residential area of Reserve, NM (the Catron County seat), after numerous complaints,” the inspector general said. “[The Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program] said that wolf M1133 could be paired with a female and released because [the program] considered the wolf genetically valuable and stated that it had no documented history of nuisance behavior. [Interagency Field Team] IFT personnel, including the former IFT coordinator, met with ranchers and county officials to discuss the release plans.”

The coordinator said the wolf could be released since it had “no nuisance complaints” against it, despite being informed that the wolf was “extremely habituated” and “a human safety hazard.”

The wolf was released “despite strong opposition from the county.” It then killed cattle in another community.

The former coordinator was described by other employees, including a senior wolf biologist, as “‘overly passionate’ about individual wolves and thus reluctant to remove them from the wild when it was appropriate to do so.”

One employee said the coordinator was “more concerned for the individual [wolf] than the species.” She was also seen “crying when one of the wolves in the program had to be killed.”

“The county commissioner and the county employee alleged that FWS officials focused on wolf welfare rather than public safety,” the inspector general said. “We also spoke to several Catron Country residents who said that IFT did not notify them about the presence of wolves, did not properly manage nuisance wolves, and falsified or concealed wolves’ locations, which caused them to be concerned about public safety.”

One of the major problems with resettling wolves is that they don't care about boundaries.  They will hunt where there is food easy prey, to be exact.  They will migrate huge distances to prey on ranchers' cattle and sheep because they're smart and don't want to work harder for a meal than they have to.

This should have been obvious from the beginning of the wolf resettlement program, when wolves released in Yellowstone expanded their range to include ranches bordering the park.  Several had to be killed before the geniuses at Fish and Wildlife began to release the wolves in even more remote locations.

But that's not always possible.  Hence this dangerous release of wild animals who have preyed on humans for tens of thousands of years.  And if they've learned to avoid humans, there's always their domesticated animals, who are easy pickings.

It's bad enough that the IFT bureaucrat made the release in a populated area without informing residents.  What's worse is that they tried to cover up their mistake by removing the carcasses of cattle killed by the wolves to keep their incompetence a secret.

Yes, wolves are beautiful and a joy to see on wildlife programs.  But for ranchers and others, there are real-life consequences that must be weighed by government before any release is authorized. 

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