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It Pays To Cry Wolf

Gray Wolf

The reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park marked the return of a symbol of the American West. The recent shooting of one in Oregon marked the return of another.

Bounty Hunting.

Forming a non-profit posse, Oregon Wild, the Center for Biological Diversity and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are offering $9,000 to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the shooting.

The gray wolf ceased to exist in Oregon by the mid-1940s. But after the successful Yellowstone reintroduction, several managed to find their way back. And in 2005, Oregon introduced a wolf management plan to protect them.

Gray wolves can restore a balance of nature. By keeping elk and deer on the move, they prevent overgrazing. And by culling out diseased and dying members of these herds, they keep populations of other predators in check.

During the early 1900s, bounties were paid for killing wolves. Now that the tables have turned, let's hope today's bounty prevents it.

Hunting, when properly managed, is an important conservation tool in trying to restore balance. If you see illegal hunting in your area, call your appropriate state wildlife agency.

Script by Stephen Webb
Copyright 2008, Catalina Island Conservancy