February 10, 2014
RMEF Position on Wolf Management
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that science and biology are key facets in maintaining a sustainable population of wolves and a balanced landscape for elk and other wildlife. As spelled out in the original, federally-approved recovery plan, which was agreed upon by all parties involved, individual states should manage wolves as they do every other species—elk, deer, bears, antelope, lions, etc. State management would take effect as wolf numbers reached previously stated criteria allowing for a viable population. (In the Northern Rockies, for example, that meant a minimum of 150 wolves and 15 breeding pairs in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming respectively, which reached those levels in the early 2000s. Today, the wolf population exceeds the original minimum recovery goal by 400 to 500 percent.)
RMEF staunchly supports wolf management in the form of hunting and trapping, especially in undermanaged predator populations that have a more significant impact on elk and other wildlife. Biologists agree there is no science to refute the viability of managing wolves as with other species.
“There’s no biological reason against having a regulated hunting season,” said Dr. David Mech, senior research scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota and founder of the International Wolf Center. Mech, the preeminent wolf researcher of his generation, also warned of those who use the wolf for singular purposes of “saving the world.”
RMEF stands behind the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation , the most successful model in the world, and its two basic principles that our fish and wildlife belong to all Americans, and that they need to be managed in such a way that their populations will be sustained forever.
In an effort to increase the scientific understanding of wolves, wolf interactions with other species and wolf management, RMEF invested more than $925,000 in grants. The total equates to more than $260,000 in just the past five years, including $125,000 in 2013 alone. A majority of the contributions paid for independent research by leading universities, state and federal wildlife conservation agencies and tribal agencies.