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WOLF COMMENTS ACCEPTED UNTIL MAY 11, YOUR WILD VOICE IS NEEDED!

Comments about how to manage wolves that will soon move into Utah will be accepted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) until May 11.

It is best to email your comments to: wolfcomments@state.ut.us

If you were unable to attend any of the numerous UDWR wolf open houses that were held over the last two weeks (we provided an email alert of these open houses a couple of weeks back), you can obtain a copy of "Gray Wolves In Utah,”a short report prepared by UDWR, from their web site, www.nr.state.ut.us/dwr/graywolfinutah.htm.

Currently, any wolves entering Utah would receive full protection under the Endangered Species Act. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has entered into a very controversial process of attempting to eventually de-list the wolf from the Endangered Species Act and turn management over to state wildlife agencies (see HUPC LYNX 12/00, 10/00, 6/00). This would only occur if each state has a plan in place to manage wolves should they return home. Right now wild wolves are not known to exist in Utah though meaningful sightings have occurred on the North Slope of the Uintas. They are as close to Utah as southwestern Wyoming.

It is estimated there are over 2900 wolves in Minnesota/ Michigan/ Wisconsin, probably 165 in Yellowstone, 190 in the central Idaho wildernesses, and around 50-60 in NW MT. Wolves need open, primarily wild space, an abundance of year round prey and tend to live in packs of 5-7 animals. Both long term studies and the more recent short term studies of wolves here in the West have shown that they have little impact on prey species, elk, deer, and moose, particularly where quality habitat exists. Few wolves have shown the inclination to go after domestic livestock with predation always being much lower than the mythical tales of “outlaw wolves.” Wolf attacks on pets are uncommon and on people an absolute rarity!

Their values are far more obvious. They are the symbol of wildness; they are elegant in their pack structure and remarkable ability to communicate through the pack. In a wild system their ecological value is widely recognized. They are the reason the elk is strong, the deer swift, the moose massive. Their home is not a zoo nor the pages of some book. Utah, the wild Uintas, the Book Cliffs, is home to wolf. They are part and parcel of a wild living system. Their howl deep in the woods reminds us of the beauty of life. These are the reasons wolf belongs in Utah.

Please take a few moments to convey your thoughts to UDWR. Your wild voice, indeed, your howl, is important.

Dick Carter


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