This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Utah Legislature's Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Committee voted to appropriate $300,000 to send anti-wolf extremists to lobby Congress to forever remove wolves from protection under the Endangered Species Act ("Saving Red Riding Hood," Tribune, March 4).
The bulk of credible science emphasizes the essential role that large carnivores play in forest and other wildland health, including recovery of aspen and streamside vegetation, and long-term viability of populations of deer, elk and other wildlife.
In addition, recent studies show most Utahns (74 percent) and Utah hunters (54 percent) like wolves and seem to understand their importance in the ecological scheme of things.
This impressive body of scientific research, which indicates that large predators enhance ecological stability and biological diversity, has had no apparent effect on the rhetoric or policies of some so-called sportsmen, especially the aspiring Washington lobbyist under consideration by our elected officials.
Absent in our Legislature is an informed discussion on the ecologic value of intact public lands and the role all native wildlife play.
At a time when critical services, such as education, are struggling for desperately needed resources, it is particularly egregious to even consider funding an effort to return Utah to 19th-century wildlife management practices.