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USFWS Delisting Testimony_12-03-13

USFWS Wolf Delisting Hearing, Pine Top, AZ
I personally delivered this testimony to the panel on December 3rd, 2013


I am the grandson of a well-known Colorado cattleman.  I studied canid ethology at the University
of Colorado and have spent the last 30 years studying and raising wolves. I believe I know and
understand these animals in a way that few others do.  I also grew up with the culture of fear and
hatred of wolves that permeates the ranching community.

In spite of this conflicted background I am opposed to the blanket delisting of gray wolves and
strongly in favor of more comprehensive efforts to recover the Mexican gray wolf.

While there are some valid concerns about wolves, there is no question that wolves are more
important to the health of ecosystems than cattle.

Wolves belong on the landscape while cattle are the damaging and invasive species that fouls the
water, destroys the range and out-competes natural ungulate populations.  Beyond this, much of the
land where cattle are grazed belongs not to the ranchers but to we, the people.

Wolves have existed in a dynamic balance with their prey for millennia. They do not “decimate
herds” as some hunters claim but regulate them in harmony with nature.  Wolves manage themselves.
They do not need to be “managed”

Some argue that states are better suited to managing their wolf populations, but we have seen how
that has worked out for the wolf - and we’ve seen photos of the horrors visited upon wolves in
every state where “management" rights have been returned.

THIS IS NOT MANAGEMENT.  IT IS EXTERMINATION!

The Mexican gray wolf is a unique subspecies that requires ongoing federal protection, an expansion
of the recovery, range and additional releases. Anything less will result in a second extinction at
the hands of man. These animals are not an experiment! They are an essential component of an
ecosystem that evolved before man had set foot in these lands.

Wolves are highly intelligent, social, mutually interdependent creatures.  They work together to
care for each other and they suffer anguish when they lose a member of their families.  In the 30
years I’ve spent working with wolves I’ve found them to be more  “humane” then the humans that
glorify in snuffing them out.

It will only be through continued and expanded federal protection that the Mexican gray wolf can
regain its foothold in suitable territory and exert its crucial role as our most important and
iconic apex predator.

Oliver Starr
Marin, California
thewolfwlkr@gmail.com