Wolves and biodiversity


A recent article presented the grey wolf as a creature with the amazing ability to make intelligent decisions that allows the animal to control and dominate its environment. First of all as a primary predator the wolf does have the ability to control its population to a degree, however, it is very limited control. Within the pack the Alpha male can control numbers by establishing a reproductive hierarchy and eliminating subordinate mating by killing or driving subordinates out of the pack. It is more than likely that subordinate excess animals will leave the pack and establish residency in areas unoccupied by other wolves when threatened. That does not reduce numbers in the population but only serves to spread it out to areas where encounters with humans will increase conflict. The claim that wolves only kill the sick and weak in their prey populations is untrue. Wolves are carnivores. They are opportunistic meat eaters who will take a meal where it turns up. It will take the easiest prey possible and if that happens to be your pet or domestic farm animal so be it. Wolves are wilderness animals that are out of place in much of the U.P. which is occupied by humans and that creates conflict. Wolves will frequently kill for sport or to teach their young and waste the animals they prey on. A wolf hunt in Michigan will not be a wide open season but will target areas where wolf-human conflict have created the need to reduce the animals.

SB 78 is another topic that requires explanation. SB 78 does not attempt to eliminate biodiversity from Michigan. First off you cannot eliminate biodiversity. Biodiversity is the sum total of the flora and fauna in a given ecosystem. It is determined by many factors some of which are human related. Biodiversity is not a process or an agenda as some would have us believe. It is the result of processes or activities both natural and human caused. After listening to the Senate hearings on this topic I am convinced that the majority of witnesses – especially those from the environmental protectionist community – did not know what they were testifying about. They are attempting to use biodiversity to create another hands off set aside which will not allow the development of the resources we need to grow the Upper Peninsula. We have enough set aside programs in Michigan to protect our rare and endangered species. We do not need another. Our senator is acting in the best interest of our citizens with this legislation.

G. Dale McNamee