Wolf Myth Busting - The Truth About Wolves

1.13.2007

MYTH: Wolves are "vicious killing machines" with no purpose.
FACT: Like any top predator, wolves play an enormously important role in their ecosystems.[1]

MYTH: Wolves are very dangerous and commonly attack people.
FACT: Wolf attacks are among the rarest of all large mammal attacks on humans. In fact, a person in wolf country has a greater chance of being hit by lightning, dying of a bee sting, or being killed in a collision with a deer than being injured by a wolf. [2]

MYTH: Wolves devastate elk herds, leaving hunters with fewer elk to kill
FACT: Elk and deer populations have not been wiped out by wolves. For example, in Idaho, data show that in 2005 (the most recent year we have stats for) hunter harvest numbers were higher than in some years before the wolf even arrived in the state. [3]

MYTH: Ranchers are not reimbursed for their losses to wolves.
FACT: Most livestock owners with proven or verified losses of their stock seek and receive compensation for their losses. [4]

MYTH: Wolves are causing serious economic harm to local communities.
FACT: Wolves in Yellowstone have attracted more than $35 million annually to local economies. [5]



SOURCES:
[1] Smith, D.W., R.O. Petersen, and D.B. Houston. 2003. Yellowstone after Wolves. Bioscience 53 (4): 330 340. Ripple, W.J., and R.L. Beschta. 2004. Wolves, elk, willows, and trophic cascades in the upper Gallatin range of southwestern Montana, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 200: 161181. Crabtree R.L., and J.W. Sheldon. 1999. Coyotes and canid coexistence. Pp 127163 in Clark TW, Curlee AP, Minta SC, Kareiva PM, eds. Carnivores in Ecosystems: The Yellowstone Experience. New Haven (CT): Yale University Press.
[2] Lukens, Jim. “Idaho, eleven years with wolves what we’ve learned.” News release, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, April 25, 2006. http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/dogs.pdf
[3]Lukens, Jim. “Idaho, eleven years with wolves what we’ve learned.” News release, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, April 25, 2006.
[4] http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/annualrpt05/table5b.pdf; http://species.idaho.gov/list/wolves.html; and http://www.defenders.org/wolfcomp.html
[5] John Duffield, Department of Economics, University of Montana. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/04/07/news/state/25-wolves.txt

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