In Catron County, New Mexico, aggressive Mexican gray wolves are terrorizing residents. Here wolves are killing pets in front yards in broad daylight, and forcing parents to stand guard when children play outside.

David Spady

Townhall

Kid cages at school bus stops spark outrage

Environmentalists have galvanized behind a movement to resurrect wolf populations in rural America. Public support, particularly from urban regions, appears to favor the idea of returning this iconic symbol of the wilderness to America’s rural landscapes. Unfortunately there is a lack of public awareness to the real life consequences for those living with wolves. The result is a misguided Federal wolf introduction program that disregards protests from states where wolves are forced on communities that don’t want them.

In Catron County, New Mexico, aggressive Mexican gray wolves are terrorizing residents. Here wolves are killing pets in front yards in broad daylight, and forcing parents to stand guard when children play outside. The threat has become so ominous the local school district has decided to place wolf shelters (kid cages) at school bus stops to protect school children from wolves while they wait for the bus or parents. These wolf proof cages, constructed from plywood and wire, are designed to prevent wolves from taking a child. The absurdity of this scenario is mind-numbing. What kind of society accepts the idea of children in cages while wolves are free to roam where they choose?

This situation exemplifies the problem with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It has drifted far from its original intent and become a useful tool for extreme environmentalists to push their agendas, often placing the interests of wild animals above the interests of real people.

The ESA allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to release captive Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona in 1998 as a “nonessential experimental population.” The experiment isn’t going so well. 15 years after its inception the wolf population in these states is growing and so are conflicts between wolves, livestock, local residents, and federal government agencies in charge of the program. Now, despite growing resistance from local communities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed an expansion of the Mexican gray wolf program.

Those forced to live with wolves on a daily basis have found there is little they can do about the harmful consequences imposed on them by their government. They find themselves having to deal with two predators—one from the wild and the other from Washington, D.C.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, willfully harassing, harming, or killing a species listed on the ESA can lead to fines up to $100,000 and one year in jail.

The local sheriff in Truth or Consequences is Joe Baca, a no-nonsense law enforcement officer who doesn’t take kindly to outside influences dictating terms for how public safety matters are dealt with. I recently met with Sheriff Baca to learn the truth about wolf threats to humans and the consequences of government programs that force wolves on civilized areas.

“My number one priority is public safety,” Baca told me, “I don’t work for the Federal government. I work for the residents of this county. The truth is that one of these days we are going to have a wolf incident with a human tragedy. In my opinion our citizens are more important than any endangered species. There is no way I am going to allow any Federal agent to come into my county and arrest someone for protecting their livestock or their family by killing a wolf.”

Local resident Crystal Diamond has experienced several run-ins with wolves, including two close encounters when she was alone with her young children. She expressed her growing frustration with this government induced wolf problem — “As mothers raising our children in wolf country, we have the additional responsibility of protecting our children from a threat that is imposed by our own government and funded by our own tax dollars.”

Many rural communities in New Mexico and Arizona view the Federal government’s artificial wolf introduction program as a predatory action against state’s rights to manage wildlife, and local government authority to protect private property and public safety…

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