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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Robert Lunz Group of the Sierra Club would like to invite you to our monthly membership meeting Thursday, March 1. It will be held in the Baruch Auditorium, 284 Calhoun Street at 7pm. We will be showing the documentary film, "Lords of Nature, Life in a Land of Great Predators". This film shows the critical role wolves and mountain lions play in their environments.

The connection between top predators and ecosystems was discovered by scientists who studied Yellowstone for decades trying to understand why the park's Aspens and other plants were doing so poorly. Around 1995 the plant systems began to recover. This was the same time wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone. As the scientists studied the plants' recovery, they decided to find out when the plants began to fail. They found that the degradation of the plants began in the early 1900's. It was also at this time that the last wolf had finally been eradicated from the lower 48 states. We are making the same mistake again.

The wolf has been removed from the Endangered Species List and control of their numbers has been turned over to the individual states. Powerful groups of hunters and ranchers with financial interests have been responsible for this delisting. Our politicians chose to listen to these groups instead of science based data proving the benefit of the wolf's presence.

Many Western states have already started hunting wolves. Trapping and snaring will be allowed, and in some states pups will be gassed in their dens. One hunter was quoted as saying, "Gut shot them. That way they won't die right away and when they do, they'll be food for something else". Federal sharpshooters are preparing to gun down up to 75 wolves from aircraft on public lands in Idaho. Montana "sportsmen" are offering $100 bounties for dead wolves. Aerial killing is allowed in Alaska where a pack will be driven for miles until exhausted. Usually one wolf will be wounded. The pack will not leave a member and this allows the aerial shooters to wipe out an entire pack. Wolves will be shot on site in some of our national parks, parks that belong to all of us.

Wolves do kill cattle. But there are many non-lethal ways of controlling this and groups such as Defenders of Wildlife have programs in place to reimburse ranchers for cattle lost to wolves. It takes a great deal of effort, but it is possible to coexist with wolves and mountain lions.

Please join us and learn about the importance of our top predators and why we need them.

Patricia A. Luck

Membership Chair Robert Lunz Group

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