Cal Groen Claims that the balance in the Lolo “is completely out of whack”
People have been discussing this on another thread but I thought it deserved its own.
Some of the same old arguments on why even more wolves need to be killed next year are being made and how IDFG will allow even greater killing of wolves in the Lolo.
One notable comment made by Cal Groen is that the balance in the Lolo Zone “is completely out of whack”.
As JB points out:
The idea of “balance” is an ecological myth; it is disconcerting to see F&G agencies perpetuate this myth. Again, ecosystems are dynamic. To imply that populations are “out of whack” when they are changing suggests that there exists some ideal equilibrium between predator and prey. This simply is not true. Populations fluctuate and that fluctuation is natural. The real reason IDF&G wants to manipulate wolves is so that they can maximize elk hunting opportunities in these zones.
The following graphs show the trends in overall elk numbers in the Lolo Zone and are different from those presented here previously which showed harvest numbers. Harvest numbers are not a good representation of what is happening to the elk population because they are influenced by management decisions.
Elk numbers in Lolo Unit 12
Elk number in Lolo Unit 10
It is apparent from the graphs that something has been going on here for many years previous to wolves showing up. The video even explains that there has been changes in the habitat here but then goes on to implicate wolves as the reason that elk remain depressed. But WHY are wolves able to keep elk populations depressed here as opposed to other areas with wolves? The video doesn’t address this. Could it be the same reason that caused the decline in the elk population in the first place. Is it not possible that the habitat here just makes elk more vulnerable to wolf predation?
Another comment made is that the hunt is responsible for halting the 20% increases in population seen in previous years. Part of that may be true, the part about stopping the growth in the population but the rate of growth has been in steady decline for a number of years as the habitat filled with wolves and the 20% rate hasn’t been seen for several years. This same phenomenon has been seen in Yellowstone but to a greater degree. Wolves don’t “overpopulate” in the sense that a rabbit might. They may overshoot their resource but like in Yellowstone, their reproductive rate or success may be impacted by nutrition or outright killing by other wolves. Disease and parasites like parvo virus, distemper, and mange also played a role in Yellowstone.
Idaho wolf population growth rate