The Controversial Program Bringing Wolves Back To The USA (2014)

Living with Wolves (2014): Can people live alongside North America’s largest pack predator? After becoming virtually extinct, wolves are now roaming the US Midwest. Is it a natural balance restored? Or a serious error of judgement?

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“They talk about a natural balance. Maybe they’ve obtained that but it’s a tragedy for everything”, Mike Popp, a local hunter tells us. He’s seen elks drop to 10% of their original numbers since the re-introduction of wolves into his local area 19 years ago. Not only that, his children complain about being stalked by wolves as they wait for their school bus. Doug Smith is a biologist at Yellowstone National Park. For him the drop in elk numbers was just a recalibration of an out-of-kilter ecosystem: “When they eat the vegetation, they destroy habitat for other species. So it was an ecosystem that wasn’t natural or the way we wanted it to be”. But the restoration of this balance, which now sees sheep, elk and deer populations being decimated by wide-ranging wolf packs, has certainly had a big impact on the farmers and hunters that have long relied on those animals for their livelihood. “Over the last eight years, we’ve lost between $30-50k worth of sheep every year”.

Dateline, SBS Australia – Ref. 6072

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