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September, 2009 Update: Wolf hunting has begun in Idaho.
When President Obama put a freeze on the Bush administration's 11th hour regulation changes, including the delisting of wolves under the Endangered Species Act, it looked like the wolves might still be saved. Not so. On Friday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that he would delist wolves in the Northern Rockies and Greater Yellowstone region. This means that the wolves in the area will no longer by protected by the Endangered Species Act, and individual states will be allowed to kill them in predator control programs.
I was not too hopeful when Salazar was named Secretary of the Interior. Salazar is a hunter and rancher, so it's no surprise that he has sided with the animal agriculture interests. Ranchers want the wolves killed because wolves sometimes kill livestock.
Killing wolves so that there will be more cattle for people to kill sounds a lot like Sarah Palin killing wolves so that there will be more moose and caribou for hunters to kill. Why has Palin's wolf-killing program gotten so much bad press, while killing wolves in the Rockies and killing sea lions in Oregon go largely unnoticed on the national level? I have my own theories. What do you think?