We've taken plenty of grief from wolf advocates over our Jan. 18 editorial that said it's time to remove the wolves from the endangered species list and give the states jurisdiction over the wolves.
To hear them spin it, we naively signed off on a death sentence for Idaho's burgeoning wolf population of roughly 800. That somehow, because we support delisting, we're somehow anti-wolf.
The whole argument baffles me, because, like the wolf advocates, I'm glad to see this predator return to its rightful place in the Northern Rockies ecosystem. I'm excited by the prospect of hearing or seeing the wolf in the wild — as I was able to do a couple of Octobers ago on a trip to Yellowstone National Park.
I do believe, however, that we have come a long way from the mid-1990s, when the federal government reintroduced 36 wolves in the Idaho wilderness. Should wolves continue to expand their range into closer proximity with people, under continued and controversial federal protection, this will only serve to deepen the divide over wolves.
I believe, and our editorial board believes, that it is time to allow states to manage the wolves — a view shared, according to a Statesman story Sunday, by two prominent wolf biologists.
I can say this without pride of authorship, since I did not write the editorial in question, but I think one paragraph posed a very good question: Will extremists on either side of the wolf debate ever be satisfied?
I'm starting to wonder.
We know virulent Stanley outfitter Ron Gillett and the rest of his Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition won't be happy until the wolf is once again exterminated — a ridiculous notion that makes no sense biologically or politically. But I don't think the wolf, or the West, is well-served by extremism at either end of the spectrum.