by Maury Jones
Thank you for comments on my last column regarding the wolf, which I compared to a disease infecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It hit a nerve. Expressing an alternate point of view in an opinion column should set the stage for thoughtful public discussion and debate. Since this is obviously a very divisive issue, let’s apply common sense to what some of you labeled as nonsense.
First, search the web for wolf subspecies. Some sites claim that subspecies doesn’t matter while other sites claim there are as many as 14 subspecies in North America. Taxonomic listing, photos, description, habits and home range give credence to a subspecies’ uniqueness. Yes, a few wander outside their core area but that is the exception. If all of them ranged freely they would interbreed with other wolves until their subspecie disappeared. No, there is not a wall or ocean prohibiting them from mixing with other subspecies, but their DNA keeps them generally in their home range and separate enough to classify. Even though there are no barriers to prevent it, Canadian wolves did not migrate to Yellowstone in the 80 years after local wolves disappeared. These wolves were brought here by government. Taxonomists say the original Northern Rocky Mountains Wolf was smaller than this introduced wolf and didn’t run in large packs.