Barker thinks cutting funds to Wildlife Services (WS) is “low hanging fruit.” I don’t think it will be that easy. They have been very resilient in the past 80 years. He also argues that in the Southwest, WS is viewed as a barrier to wolf recovery not just by wolf conservationists, but by state wildlife agencies. Not so quite so in the Northern Rockies.
My view of WS in the Northern Rockies is that their behavior has deteriorated over time. Six years ago they were engaging in non-lethal control, trying to keep wolves and livestock apart before something was killed, and they were doing research on alternative methods. Now that has almost ceased. Standard procedure is to get in an aircraft and shoot.
In the past when they were under political attack, they survived by reforming themselves (for a while). This would probably be the prudent thing for them to do now because their political patrons who currently have so much power are likely to be seriously out of power at the both the congressional and executive level come 2009.
Barker’s blog. Idaho Statesman.