Well, it seems those pesky wolves are in the news up here yet again. This time it’s not the F&WS and their infinite wisdom declaring a population to be ‘experimental’, or a bunch of anti-wolf people shooting wolves from airplanes. This time, the news is about the National Park Service tracking down a wolf in Denali National Park, anesthetizing the animal, and removing a snare from its neck. You can read more about the story (the pictures are pretty gross, don’t visit these links if you might be upset by some nasty wounds on a wolf) here and the update here. Basically, 2 wolves had been trapped this past winter, and escaped, but with the snares on their necks. The snares dug in deep, and caused some ugly wounds. The park service, getting ready for the opening of the park and influx on countless visitors, has no interest in having a bunch of tourists see wolves in this condition, so they’ve been hunting high and low for these 2 wolves, to try to remove the snares. They’ve so far found one, a large grey male, and removed the snare, given him shots to protect him from further infection, and let him go again, hoping for the best. No sight of the 2nd wolf, a black one, so far.
Now, on one hand, this is great news, that they managed to remove the snare. On the other hand, it’s ugly to see images of wolves running around with snares on their necks, and to know that wolves are being trapped this way. But the point of this post is to look at Govt bureaucracy and a system that has the State-run Fish and Game Board spending countless dollars flying around Alaska shooting wolves to keep their population down while the National Park Service biologists working overtime and spend countless dollars running around the woods, flying in helicopters, etc, looking for 2 wolves in order that they might be treated for their human-inflicted wounds and live longer.
I know, I know, some people will argue ‘one agency is a function of the State Govt and the other is the federal govt’. So what? If this isn’t craziness, I don’t know what is. It’s a great example of how our ‘management ability’ isn’t always quite on par with what we’d like to think it is.
Lastly, a short comment on the radio collar you see in this image. Biologists apparently fear that wolves, with their enormous home range territories of up to 800 sq miles, might get lost, so they place these radio transmitter collars on the wolves. I wonder if the future will bring little shock collars, like people use on domestic dogs, to shock the wolves once they leave their designated territory?