On Dec. 7, the Herald published an Associated Press article headlined S.W. Wolf project at crossroads." The story
pointed out the project hasn't worked out well, to date, for the wolves, for ranchers, for conservationist or for
The frustrations and resentments that have resulted are at least partially fueled by misinformation accidentally passed
on, and sometimes intentionally. I don't believe the AP article was an intentional effort to misinform, however, it
didn't do its homework, and as a result, did pass on misinformation.
The AP quoted a county commissioner from Catron County, N.M., who, with no specific facts, blamed wolves and the
recovery project for ranchers' wives getting hysterical because everything their family has worked for is going down
the drain." Drought and lower cattle prices have been a problem, but, he said, hundreds of livestock kills by Mexican
gray wolves have made things worse."
The commissioner also said he believes in being a good steward of the land." It appears that to this commissioner,that means preserving it for cattle as a first priority and certainly not for any predators in the wildlife chain.
Ranching is a business, and like any business, there are numerous factors determining success of failure with the ups
and downs of the economy. To blame wolves for ranching business failures is not believable.
In fact, the Wolf Compensation Trust of Defenders of Wildlife has paid out $115,666 in compensation to ranchers in the
Southwest Mexican Wolf Recovery Area for depredation by wolves from 1987 through October 2009. These payments were for
168 cattle losses, not hundreds."
The Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team confirmed the number of cattle losses. It reported that from 1998 to Dec. 16,2009, Mexican gray wolves have been confirmed or probably confirmed in 184 livestock depredation incidents." These time
frames are not identical, but the numbers are close, and again do not approach the claims of the Catron County
It is essential we deal with known science and facts, not Little Red Riding Hood consciousness.
Bob Kuhnert, Durango