Please, Sir, More!

March 20, 2003

By Jim Beers, USFWS retired

I thought of these words recently when I was asked what I thought about the downlisting of wolves in certain areas from Endangered to Threatened status. Those three words were spoken in the beginning of the first movie version of Oliver Twist. Poor Oliver is placed in a horrible London orphanage and fed with the other orphans, a small bowl of gruel. He slowly walks up to the owner, lifts his tiny bowl and asks, "Please sir, more." The nasty and brutish owner leans forward, his agitated face filling the screen, and bellows "MORE??" We are the orphans and the bureaucrats and their animal rights and environmental "partners" are the owner of this orphanage.

The wolf has no more business being listed to begin with than say the ubiquitous black bear. For the Federal government to seize jurisdiction from the states of a critter with over 60,000 individuals in Alaska and Canada plus probably millions in Asia is absurd. Why? To "save the species?" Earth to the American public, is anyone there?

We (like the sheep preferred by the wolf) accept this change of Constitutional jurisdiction and the absolutely awful hidden agenda to force wolves into every nook and cranny of the lower 48. Wolves that kill cattle and calves; sheep and lambs; horses and foals; pet dogs, breeding dogs, watchdogs, and hunting dogs; plus children and adults. Wolves that kill many poor rural Asian people each year. Wolves that attack people in sleeping bags; inhabit subdivisions to kill wintering deer in driveways; and attack dogs on leashes or in kennels while stalking lonesome pedestrians. Wolves that discourage rural residence by killing pet horses, dogs, cattle, and sheep. Wolves that depress big game populations and thereby hunting, hunters, and license money available for conservation programs. Wolves that become more and more bold as people only run from them and attacks have no consequence for the wolves that raise the next generation. Wolves that are excused because people "are in the wrong places" or people didn't behave "right" or people shouldn't have their stock or their dog "there." Wolves that are excuses for limiting access to public lands, government control of rural residents, and the "need" for more government ownership of land. Wolves that are venues for unlimited lawsuits by environmentalists and animal rights radicals to increase the amount and nature of government reform and citizen control that is their ultimate goal. Wolves that are the source of votes for "benevolent" politicians and the source of more money, more staff, higher pay, higher bonuses, and higher retirement for bureaucrats. Wolves that are the source of grant money, paid testimony, more graduate students, more stature, and more tenure for University professors.

We accept all this while control methods have been severely curtailed by Federal decrees. We accept this while Federal biologists lie about "no danger to humans" and how wolves "don't depress game populations." We accept this while state game biologists and administrators parrot the Federal line to get Federal "Assistance" (i.e., $). We accept the unholy alliance between Federal and state biologists and environmental and animal right "partners." We all accept the future legitimacy of the next "green" President restacking the Federal agencies with environmental and animal rights radicals to take right off from where the last one left off. We accept the state biologists who, because of fear for their professional future, acquiesce to lies and actions that are harmful and possibly deadly to residents of their state. This last needs only reference to California biologists commenting on cougars or various western state biologists remarks about protecting bears and cougars.

Wolves will spread quicker than the recent "blitzkrieg" of coyotes East of the Mississippi to the Atlantic. The effect on Americans will be startling and beyond what any "expert" will acknowledge. Control and eradication which our wise forefathers pursued is no longer feasible. The radicals, with their money, lawyers, and bureaucrat and politician chums will see that they continue to spread and that traps, hunting, "undocumented" depredation control, and sport hunting are never allowed or the Federal government will seize back control bureaucratically or through the Courts. Delisting the wolf in selected areas will only change one thing. The federal bureaucrats and the radicals will only have to say "heel" instead of yanking hard on the chain around the state's necks.

As one Defenders of Wildlife executive put it recently, you "are forgetting that Federal law supersedes State law." If such radical revamping of our Constitution is allowed to stand, especially for a purpose that is so patently harmful, God help us.

What the Federal government is doing; is not "saving" wolves. It is the beginning of reestablishing a "Pre_Columbian Ecosystem." Otherwise, "saving" the wolf in Minnesota, where they occurred when the Endangered Species Act was passed, would have been enough. No, they are on an apparently (if we don't do something) unstoppable jihad to put them everywhere in the lower 48. What about buffalo? What about grizzly bears? What about mountain lions? Where is the line between "saving" and putting any and every species where it occurred at one time in the distant past, in a markedly and dramatically different world?

Like Oliver, we are supplicants for "more." Like the owner of the orphanage the bureaucrats et al, are taken aback at our unmitigated gall and audacity. Finally like Oliver, there is punishment ahead for us beyond what we imagine.