I've been doing some research and have actually delved into the arguments against wolves such as competition and livestock damage... not to mention had people on my case arguing against logical non-lethal methods.
As for the argument of competition for 'game' (hate that euphemism but whatever), wolves are the natural predators and are designed to stop breeding when they can no longer acquire food - this does not mean that they exterminate all life, it simply means that when they can't get anything in their territory and have to look elsewhere. Added to this is the fact that the wolves in ID were reintroduced to create a stabilised elk population, which they have achieved. However, the argument against this is based upon what was
considered a healthy populace despite the obvious fact that the ungulates were eating all vegetation and slowly killing themselves off. After the extermination of the wolf, the coyote bred to fill the gap but was unable to keep the elk under control, added to the fact the wolf also preys upon coyotes.
During the time of reintroduction the elk count in Idaho was 28 000 individuals, keep in mind this was an overpopulated state. In the years afterward the number slowly came down and 12 years later came to approximately 25 000 (year ending 2006). Elk mortality factors included hunter harvest (52 percent), mountain lions (30 percent), wolves (7 percent), malnutrition (7percent), and unknown predation (4percent). Deer mortality resulted from lions (32 percent), hunter harvest (18 percent), accidents (14 percent), unknown causes (14 percent), wolves (9 percent), roadkill (9 percent), and malnutrition (4 percent)
[Source: Lukens, Jim. "Idaho, eleven years with wolves ? what we've learned." News release, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, April 25, 2006]
According to the research report posted by the Wolf Education and Research Centre, North ID. The elk are still overpopulated by 17%.
The argument of livestock losses is invalid due to the fact that farm owners are compensated for predations whilst protections remain. To condemn this concern further the annual loss to wolves is as follows:
Sheep deaths due to predators represented 55% of overall losses. These predation deaths included coyotes (7,100 sheep), dogs (1,400 sheep, bears (1000 sheep) mountain lions (400 sheep) and wolves (270)
Cattle deaths due to predators represented less than 3% of overall losses. These predation deaths included coyotes (600 calves), mountain lions (200 calves),dogs (100 calves) and wolves (24 calves)
Sheep deaths due to predators represented 59% of overall losses. These predation deaths included coyotes (12,600 sheep), dogs (400 sheep), bears (900 sheep) mountain lions (100 sheep) and wolves (17).
Cattle deaths due to predators represented less than 10% of overall estimated losses. These predation deaths included coyotes (2,300 calves), mountain lions (500 calves), dogs (100 calves) and wolves (54 calves).
Natural causes, such as disease and mortality rates take over 10 times the amount that all predations take COMBINED.
[Information was gathered from US Fish and Wildlife Report 2006.]
Here's another juicy bit of intel about 'Butch' Otter - he has a seat in the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition. source: www.wolfrivals.org
Both good and evil have delicate hands, yet also tend to have a tight grip. Which side you choose is entirely up to you.