Guest Column: Fear mongering in Mohave County
One of the Mohave County supervisors recently said, "There is no historical documentation that the wolves were ever here in Mohave County. And even if they were, so what?"
As for proof about wolves having previously been in Mohave County, it would behoove the supervisors to read the book, "Man And Wildlife In Arizona," The American Exploration Period 1824-1865, by Goode P. Davis Jr., and they may become fascinated to discover that not only were there were wolves, but grizzly bears too.
I just can't comprehend how the supervisors can just view a document or two or search a few pages on the Internet and unequivocally say wolves were never in Mohave County. Before long, they will listen to and agree with some rogue scholar that the woolly mammoth and other dinosaurs are a figment of everyone's imagination. I understand that if it says it on Google, it must be true.
A friend of mine's great grandparents came to Mohave County in a covered wagon after the Civil War and they ended up homesteading the area called Big Sandy. His grandmother was born in that wagon as they trekked across the desert to their final destination in Mohave County. They went into ranching and raising cattle in the Big Sandy and my friend occasionally lived on the Big Sandy with his family when he was a "young buck."
I know the supervisors might not be aware, but in the late 1800s, the federal government placed a $75 bounty on wolves in Mohave County and that was major greenbacks for that period. Now we all know why the wolves disappeared from Mohave County and other parts of Arizona.
The federal government also sent professional trackers/hunters into the Hualapai Mountains to kill the remaining three wolves that had escaped being shot by the residents, ranchers, the government's professional tracker/hunters and others who thought it would be an easy way to make some money. A very close friend of mine, who I would venture to say most of the supervisors know (and I would trust with my life, and has more integrity than most), informed me that when the government tracker/hunters were unable to kill the remaining three wolves in the Hualapai Mountains, his great grandfather headed up there and did the deed the federal government and their tracker/hunters couldn't. My friend also inherited the rifle that was used to take the three remaining wolves.
I know this may upset the supervisors, who I consider my friends, but I believe it is beginning to be apparent that most of them are listening more to a select few ranchers who graze cattle here, especially on public lands, about what wolves could possibly do. And besides, I believe the supervisors hate having the federal government dictate what to do in their own backyard.
No matter what the Board of Supervisors say or do, if the federal government wants, they will take a foothold in the county, with or without the county's blessing.
I have spoken to numerous people, and by far the majority of them say the county government is sticking its nose where it doesn't belong and that it is apparent that the supervisors are aligning themselves with the few ranchers instead of the majority of their constituents. Most of them also know the federal government has no plans on re-introducing the wolves in Mohave County and most of the rhetoric is fear mongering.
According to Mohave County officials, the Board approved holding a public hearing at the County Administration Building in order to give all Mohave County residents a chance to voice their views on the Mexican gray wolf plan.
Before making a decision (however, it seems as if the decision has already been made) to either support or fight the federal government's attempt to designate a larger Mexican Gray Wolf Non-Essential Experimental Population Area, it would behoove them to think about the entire constituent base instead of a select few.
Please make sure you also tell all of the residents that the federal government has no plans on re-introducing wolves into Mohave County, and that if a wolf happens to be able to make it into our county, that wolf can be killed if it tries to hurt or kill any livestock.
Only time will tell if the supervisors actually listen to the residents or to the select few ranchers and residents the supervisors have personally invited to attend the public hearing.
Remember what Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame once said, "The needs of the many far outweigh the needs of the few."
This guest column was published in the Kingman Daily Miner.
Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points
- At last official count, only 75 Mexican gray wolves, including only 3 breeding pairs, were found in the wild.
- The wild population of Mexican wolves is at tremendous risk due to its small size and genetics.
- The livestock industry has a responsibility to be good stewards by sharing public lands with wolves and other wildlife. There are many tried and true methods to avoid conflicts between livestock and wolves. Funds are available to help livestock growers implement nonlethal deterrents, better animal husbandry practices, and other innovative tools that minimize conflict.
- Wolves once lived throughout Arizona and played a critical role in keeping the balance of nature in place. We need to restore this important animal that has been missing for too long.
- Science has repeatedly demonstrated that wolves are keystone carnivores who help to keep wildlife like elk and deer healthy and bring balance to the lands they inhabit. Wildlife biologists believe that Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of the Southwest and its rivers and streams – just as the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone has helped restore balance to its lands and waters.
- Scientific experts have long said that the Grand Canyon region, which extends from southern Utah to the Mogollon Rim, contains some of the last best places for wolves.
- Wolves are a benefit to the West and are essential to restoring the balance of nature. Wildlife biologists believe that Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of the Southwest and its rivers and streams – just as the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone has helped restore balance to its lands and waters.
- Polling showed 77% of Arizona voters and 69% of New Mexico voters support the Mexican wolf reintroduction.
- Mexican gray wolves are unique native animals. They are the rarest, most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf in North America and the most endangered wolf in the world.
- Wolves generate economic benefits - a University of Montana study found that visitors who come to see wolves in Yellowstone contribute roughly $35.5 million annually to the regional economy.
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