Tom Bowers: We don’t need altered ecosystem | SteamboatToday.com

Tom Bowers: We don’t need altered ecosystem

To Mr. Ganshert’s comments, I have read the research that he requested and in Michael Robinson’s conclusion is that, “if” the right environment exists for wolves, they do play a very instrumental role in that ecosystem.
I am not denying anyone's research as to the so-called benefits of having a non-native predator in a managed, controlled ecosystem. The key word is “controlled.” From all of the pro-wolf enthusiasts, they are claiming that having wolves will better manage our big game species and help our rivers and waterways.
Let's be honest here — this thought pattern is aimed at eliminating grazing permits and further restricting hunting opportunities in our own state, to what determinate?
Look at the results in all the states that have these wolves. Generational ranches have been shutdown; recreational hunting has been deeply affected.
Eric, Google why are Yellowstone’s elk disappearing?” Author Middleton, a biologist, determined that the pregnancy rate among elk in the migrating herd was 19 percent lower than the non-migrating herds nearby, and that from 1989 to 2009, the number of calves had declined to a staggering 74 percent.
Shannon Barber-Meyer from the University of Minnesota followed collared calves in Yellowstone for three years — 70 percent of them died before their first birthday; wolves killed 15 percent of them.
Interesting fact in this article, Middleton, wanting to figure out what was happening, turned to Jennifer Fortin, then a zoology PhD student, who was monitoring grizzly bears in Yellowstone. Grizzlies had historically fed heavily on spawning cutthroat trout in the spring. But someone, "who thought they knew more about the ecosystem than the educated fisheries did," illegally stocked lake trout in Yellowstone Lake.
This invasive trout preyed on the native cutthroat and competed with them for available feed resources. The lake trout spawn in deeper water than the cutthroat, hence they remain out of reach of the grizzlies.
Data proved and reviled that when the fish became scarce, the bears stalked the next easiest targets — elk and calves and taught their young as well.
Droughts had a impact in not getting the required nutrition, Middleton's conclusion: there are many reasons. Trout fishermen, bears and wolves all have an impact, along with, when the elk are in the turfiest conditions — cold weather and not the choicest feed along with being stressed by predators in the winter — the cows will abort the calves they are carrying.
His final comment is that the elk population in Yellowstone is at the mercy of a much larger "human-altered" ecosystem. We don’t need an altered ecosystem in Colorado.
It shouldn’t be up to an emotional desire of a few people to determine the outcome of our state's wildlife. It should be left up to the people that manage our wildlife.
And if the desire for the introduction is accepted, sound management should be implemented regardless of one's emotion, especially when our state is growing — we are the second-fastest growing state in the nation. From July 2014 to July 2015, we grew by 100.000 people. This nearly 2 percent increase was more than double the nation's population growth rate.
Respectfully,
Tom Bowers
Yampa

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