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“Market-based Conservation” = $$$ For Wolf Hunting

Posted by Richard Conniff on December 2, 2012

A few weeks ago I wrote about the perils of the market-based “ecosystem services” approach to conservation.  Now the New York Times reports a case in point.  The State of Utah has begun allowing private landowners to sell permits for private hunts on their property for thousands of dollars.  The idea, seemingly a sensible one, is to give ranchers  a cash incentive to tolerate–and even cultivate–wildlife.  But listen to how it has worked out:

Critics of the auction and the convention drawing, like Tye Boulter, the president of the United Wildlife Cooperative, said that too much of the money made by the Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Wildlife went to promoting the groups and lobbying for their political causes.

But Mr. Moretti said, “We believe we’ve fulfilled our obligation” to bring in convention dollars and support wildlife projects.

An audit of the $1 million from the convention drawing was made public in August, prompted by Mr. Boulter’s complaints. It showed that about $250,000 went toward lobbying for increased hunting of wolves, which at the time were still listed as endangered in the Northern Rockies. “They are catering to the industry — guides, outfitters, landowners, things like that,” Mr. Boulter argued, saying groups that support wolf hunts are not necessarily conservationists.

Check out the whole article here.

2 Responses to ““Market-based Conservation” = $$$ For Wolf Hunting”

  1. Norm Mackey said

    I find the whole concept of hunting wolves for sport beyond the pale. We don’t usually kill dogs in the US for pleasure and have the state take a cut of the dogfighting profits because we “have to” to pay for managing the 70-80 million domesticated ones, usually do not eat dogs or wear or display dog fur unless it is from a wolf. Black wolf coat? You’re wearing dog color fur. The unique beta-defensin mutation at the K-locus which arose in dogs. And turned out so useful to wolves it spread throughout the subarctic North American wolf population, showing they are all part dog in those populations with any black wolves. Most dogs are very reluctant to hurt people or treat them as prey animals, and the same wolves were exposed to those genes. Would not usually hunting people be a useful trait they kept too?

    Seen any cave lions, sabertooths, cave or short-faced bears, cave hyenas or the packs of big dire wolves starting where todays largest wolves leave off, the predators around about until that happened? I wonder what their mistake was.

    Why hunt one of these big shy dogs to provide yourself with a pelt or a rug that symbolizes the grief and loss suffered by the other members of the pack? This has to be the epitome of bad taste – I wouldn’t confront the killer, but if he should complain about acts of alleged dogfighters or similar things I would not be able resist pointing out that they had done worse, were displaying the fact, and ask them how the family of wolves are currently doing without the “trophy” that once helped provide the others with food, protection, and companionship.

    The USA has some 70-80 million domesticated wolves. The mere handful of wild wolves could very well be treated much as the other dogs are, even though the wolves have brains that are double-digit percentages larger and have a few instincts needed to live in the wild, which people removed to fill those roles themselves. At least with something near the same consideration, not a resource to be “harvested”, with enough respect as the animal we chose to turn into the one we trust with our children.

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