Back in 1973, Congress passed the first enactment of the Endangered Species Act. While there had been a couple of other versions before 1973, this is the one which brought real protection and gave the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a way to designate species as endangered or threatened. This allowed for ways to protect and manage these species and their habitats for the betterment of themselves and for Man.
However, while this posts celebrates a day of wisdom and foresight of Congress and the people of the United States back then and today. The places where animals and plants are not endangered or threatened use the term management very loosely when it comes to a couple of species: wolves and harp seals. One killed because of a perceived threat and one for its fur. Really, is anything a threat to mankind other than itself? Do we need to kill any animal for fur?
I guess wolves are so plentiful and dangerous in Alaska as to allow the use of snares and poison gas in and around the dens of the pups. It’s not enough to chase wolves to exhaustion using airplanes and then kill them with high powered rifles? Wolves might take a few trophy caribou, moose or deer from hunters they say. I suggest if you think that to read Farley Mowat’s account of studying wolves in his book, Never Cry Wolf. For wolves are no match for healthy prey and must rely on the weak and infirm to stay alive. This is nature’s way of keeping healthy and viable populations in the wild.
Harp Seals are beautiful creatures and are no threat to over fishing the waters in the Atlantic Maritimes of Canada. They are also owners of warm and highly sought after fur. The annual “hunt” is brutal and inhuman and unneccesary.
I understand management principles in wildlife biology. I studied them when I went to the College of Environmental Science & Forestry in Syracuse, New York, where I earned my degree in Forest Biology and Wildlife Management. These two species, the wolf and the harp seal, are not being “managed” but are being used for the sport of killing and for greed. Both are unacceptable and unneeded in the 21st Century.
To help stop these and other atrocities against wildlife, I ask you to support such organizations like the National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund and Defenders of Wildlife. Happy Endangered Species Day!