As a rancher whose ranch was visited by the famous wolf OR-7, I think that it was more than just a chance encounter.
You might hear a little “Twilight Zone” music in the background and stop reading as you think this is already out there. But the circumstances of reality do resemble something from that TV show.
The wolf seems to have captured much of my time, heck, most of my time. I have met many people from the other side, ahh … the dark side. Actually where you stand determines which side is the dark side for you personally.
The sides seem to me to be environmentalists versus ranchers. The wildlife service agencies must be the appointed referees.
So any attended wolf event is like visiting a big time wrestling match. Both sides whirling their corners colors as the referees keep each side in check. The event is usually a lot of show, but no go.
One might think, what about the wolf? Exactly!
The fact of the matter is the wolf is here and so is the ranching community. The reality is a lot of people wish the other side would just go away. They actually focus on that achievement, much more than the welfare of any wildlife, livestock or the environment. The fact is the opposition to the other side is their actual goal.
But the reality is without extreme methods of past eradications, the wolf is here to stay. I know that’s not what many want to hear. On the other side for those who just want the cows to go away, they too are here to stay.
California is the fourth largest state in cattle numbers in the USA. Without the financial side and just talking about what the 5.2 million head of cattle in California mean for California’s wildlife.
For the livestock industry the national average for natural death loss is 1%. That’s an annual loss of 52,000 head in California. Many of those are never disposed of because the terrain is too tough or the costs of removal are just too expensive. They are left for scavengers to remove. With an average mature cow size of 1,500 lbs. That’s 78 million pounds of protein (1,560 semi-loads) that supports our wildlife.
That is a food supply for our wildlife that if removed would devastate our wildlife communities. From insects to birds, fish, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bobcats, mountain lions, bears and wolves they would all suffer from such a loss.
It is apparent to me that without cows, you starve a lot of wildlife and increase wildfire risk that destroys entire habitats and creates erosion and damages water quality and endangers human lives.
It’s unfortunate that sides seem to end up opposing people, rather than developing solutions to understand and promote a working environment that present benefits to all.
I do have a bias opinion. I support a working landscapes.