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An activist group in New Mexico is protesting an ongoing federal
program to reintroduce wolves — which apparently display no fear of
humans — into their area, saying the animals are killing livestock and
causing residents to fear for their lives and safety.

According to the Paragon Foundation, who will sponsor a Feb. 26
protest in the small community of Glenwood, the reintroduction program,
which is managed by Region 6 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
has definitely had an “adverse impact” on the
area.

“These introduced wolves have no fear of humans,” said event
organizer and local resident Dan Allred. Due to the Wildlife Service’s
habit of hand-feeding wolves elk meat, “when they see humans, they think
it’s chow time.” That phenomenon, Allred said, has led many parents in
the area to fear for the lives of their children, especially after
wolves recently killed a 1,500-pound bull nearby.

“Our community is the most impacted group by the wolf-release and we
would like the public to have real information about the reintroduction
program as it affects the real people who live here,” said Allred, a
former police officer.

Wildlife Service officials began releasing wolves into the wild under
the auspices of the Endangered Species Act in 1995 and 1996.

Portions of the program were delayed by court challenges, however. A
1997 Wyoming District Court ruling declared the wolf reintroduction
program into portions of Yellowstone National Park and Idaho illegal,
since the Endangered Species Act ostensibly applied only to natural-born
wildlife. The case was overturned on appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit
Court Jan. 13, based on “experimental designations” of the Endangered
Species Act.

Defenders of Wildlife, a left-leaning
environmental group that works closely with the Wildlife Service,
sponsored the appeal and has supported the federal government’s wolf
reintroduction program since its inception.

“We are very pleased that reason won in this case and that the wolves
will be allowed to remain in the park so that future generations may
enjoy them,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, Defenders president.

Several messages by WorldNetDaily to both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and Defenders of Wildlife offices across the country went
unanswered.

Paragon said many local residents are very concerned about the
program. Mothers who are afraid for their children are planning to speak
at the rally, as will Judy Cummings, an “environmentalist turned
rancher,” who “will tell about being ‘sold out’ by environmental
groups.”

Jay Walley, communications director for Paragon, told WorldNetDaily
that he had “loads” of wolf attack stories, cultivated both from locals
in New Mexico and throughout the western U.S. One local family, he said,
was attacked by a wolf in 1998.

“The husband ended up shooting the wolf just three feet from his
12-year-old daughter,” Walley said, as the animal fought with the family
dog.

As far as parents are concerned, “their fears that wolves may attack
their kids are entirely justified, and we’ve got the documented evidence
to prove that,” said Walley.

Although his organization can document several attacks, added Walley,
the Wildlife Service uses complicated and ambiguous criteria to document
them.

“In one case, wolves chased a rancher’s cattle through a fence and
into another feeding zone” before killing them, he said. “The U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service said they couldn’t label that an attack because the
rancher’s cattle were not killed in his feeding zone.”

In another, an 81-year-old woman watched as a Mexican gray wolf came
into her yard in broad daylight, with her 5-year-old granddaughter
playing nearby, and killed the family cat.

In those instances, say critics of the relocation plan, homeowners
are prohibited from shooting the animals because of their
federally-protected status. Ranchers are permitted by law to kill wolves
if they are caught attacking cattle or livestock, but some have done so
and have later been held liable by federal officials. Worse, because of
the law, homeowners would actually have to wait until they — or their
children — were attacked before they could defend themselves.

“If a pack of these wolves can bring down a 1,500-pound steer,”
Walley said, “how long would it take them to devour a small child?”

Walley said homeowners have told him after having Wildlife Service
agents investigate wolf attacks that the agency doesn’t believe wolves
would attack small children. One wolf introduction program employee told
the 81-year-old grandmother that the agency has never documented a wolf
attack on a child in North America.

That assessment, however, ignores documented accounts like these:

  • The Aug. 28, 1996, Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported, “On
    August 18, the Devanthal family was camping near a remote lake in
    Algonquin Provincial Park. At 2 am, twelve-year-old Zach awoke the rest
    of the family screaming. Jagged gashes bisected his cheeks under both
    eyes, while other wounds gushed blood into his sleeping bag. While Zach
    slept, a wolf attacked and dragged him, clamping its jaws around Zach’s
    face so tightly that its canine teeth penetrated his cheekbone and broke
    his nose in five places. In the week after the attack, two campers were
    forced from their campsites by ravaging wolves.”

  • The Kingston Whig-Standard, Ontario, Canada reported that
    on April 20, 1996, a group of wolves killed and severely mangled
    Patricia Woman, a wildlife reserve employee. Constable Ron Buchanan in
    an interview said. “Officers called to the scene had to kill three
    wolves to get to the body.”

  • As far back as 1830, the irrefutable John James Audubon, in his
    book “The Quadrupeds of North America” reported an attack by a pack of
    wolves on two men traveling through Kentucky in the winter. They killed
    one man, while the other escaped up a tree. The St. Paul Daily Globe’s
    March 8, 1888 edition reported that a pack of wolves surrounded a farmer
    and his son and literally ate them alive.

Of the wolves themselves, Walley said he’s “got nothing against
them.” Rather, “I’m against having them released in areas inhabited by
people because, as we’ve seen — and because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service personnel feed them — they’re not afraid of humans and think
people are around just to feed them.”

Walley said the rally would feature a troop of local Boy Scouts who
are afraid to camp in nearby woods because of the wolves, as well as a
state tourism expert who will testify that the wolf release program is
costing the state money.

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