Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hunt wolves to save them? Sounds pretty stupid.

Gee whiz. High Country News has a doozy in its pages today, an article by Hal Herring suggesting that hunting the wolves is a way to save them. We have never been big fans of that kind of reasoning.

Mr. Herring's point is largely socio-political, discussing management, tolerance and opinions in the human community. Unfortunately, he disregards the science like a recent article by Adrian Treves in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Treves argues against many of Herring's conclusions, with more thoughful analyses like:
Sustainable hunting to maintain stable populations is well understood in theory but complex life histories of carnivores, and behavioral changes of hunters and the carnivores they stalk may result in unsustainable mortality for carnivores.
Instead of just wishing it were so, Treves is circumspect about public attitudes changing just because hunting is allowed- the evidence just isn't there to support Herring's optimism.

It seems sort of straightforward to us too- why would we assume that people would have greater respect for an animal they are encouraged to kill?

2 comments:

Ryan said...

I read the HCN article and it seemed pretty reasonable to me. In an apolitical world hunting wolves wouldn't help them, but this ain't that world. I know quite a few hunters and fisherman with a great deal of respect and even love for the creatures they pursue. In fact I would say the majority of hunters I know fall into this category. I have certainly run into many who just like shooting anything that runs walks or slithers as well. I will also say that most of the hunters I know are against the wolf reintroduction, but hopefully that can change. I am not a hunter myself, but I do believe there is a positive place for hunting in the world.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. We have to hunt wolves in order to save them? Sounds a lot like the slogan from the Vietnam war: "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."