conservatives and conservationists snap at each other over...
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Conservatives and conservationistssnap at each other over wolf plan
A female Mexican wolf runs inside a holding pen at the Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Photo: Luis Sinco/LosAngeles Times/MCT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the small, rural community of Reserve, N.M., children waitingfor the school bus gather inside cages made of wood and wire. The "kid cages" are thereto protect them from wolves. Parents think the cages are perfectly reasonable.
Defenders of the wolves note there have been no documented wolf attacks in New Mexicoor Arizona. Fears of wolves attacking humans, they say, are overblown. They call the cagesnothing more than a stunt.
In 1995, Canadian gray wolves were reintroduced into the northern Rockies. People gotreally angry.
Now that anger has flowed into the Southwest. There, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceproposes to extend Endangered Species Act protections for an estimated 75 Mexicanwolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona.
Wolf Portrayed As Savage Devil
Such protections would make it illegal to kill wolves, in most instances. The new federalplan would also significantly expand the area where the wolves would be protected.
By Los Angeles Times, adapted by Newsela staff on 11.06.13 Word Count 860
To many conservatives in the West, such protections are examples of the governmentgoing overboard. They see them as idealistic efforts by officials who don’t know what it’slike to live with wolves.
“People have to stand up and defend our rights,” said Wink Crigler. She is a fifth-generation rancher from Arizona who says guests at her tourist cabins fear they might beattacked by wolves.
Anti-wolf campaigns here often portray the animal as a savage devil preying on children.The campaigns are paid for by conservative political groups. Those groups do not like thefederal government.
The anger has encouraged scores of illegal killings of Mexican wolves. The population ofthe animals fell to seven before federal efforts to reintroduce them began in 1998. A youngmale wolf was fatally shot with an arrow a few weeks ago in the same rural Catron Countythat uses the kid cages.
Into this atmosphere have come federal officials who by the end of the year are expectedto finalize their plan for managing Mexican wolves. Those wolves are smaller and brownerthan Canadian grays.
A Loud Politically Driven Debate
“With the political debate we see raging, we can’t just listen to the loudest voice in theroom,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “There are many loud voices inthe room." No animal stirs up more heated emotions that divide Americans than the wolfdoes, he explained.
He could be describing the situation here: a public policy debate driven not by sciencebut emotional appeals and people fighting for their side.
When an Oct. 4 public comment hearing about wolf management was postponed by thegovernment shutdown, supporters came out anyway. They took nearby meeting rooms atan Albuquerque hotel.
The Save the Lobo rally, paid for by Defenders of Wildlife, featured a man in a wolfcostume. Children drew on signs with crayons and people offered videotaped commentsto be forwarded to Washington.
Down the hall, the anti-wolf event was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a groupfunded by the billionaire Koch brothers. The Kochs are conservatives who support limitinggovernment. The group showed the documentary “Wolves in Government Clothing.” Thefilm said rampaging wolves were like an out-of-control federal government. Said oneArizona rancher at the event: “Is this politically driven? Absolutely.”
An armed guard patrolled. Americans for Prosperity said the guard was needed becauseof death threats from environmental groups.
Kids In Cages Like Chicken Coops
The issue of public safety loomed large. There was a lot of discussion about the kid cages,boxy structures that resemble chicken coops. Photos and video of the cages have beencirculated by Americans for Prosperity, although it was unclear how many exist or whorequested or paid for them. Local media reports suggest at least some of them were builtby students in a high school shop class.
Calls to the superintendent of schools in Reserve were not returned.
To Carolyn Nelson, a teacher in Catron County, the cages don’t go far enough to protectchildren. She said that seven years ago her son, then 14, was out walking and cameacross three wolves. Frightened, he backed against a tree as one wolf stared him downwhile the other two circled.
Only when the boy cocked the gun he was carrying did the wolves run off.
“I think it was a miracle he wasn’t killed,” she said.
Crigler, the Arizona rancher, who also attended the event, said she understands the fearsof the guests in her tourist cabins. “I can’t tell them that they are perfectly safe. There issome degree of risk,” she said, adding that she worries that the wolves are becoming usedto people. “They are meat eaters. Savages.”
According to wolf researcher Carlos Carroll, who has studied Mexican wolves for the Fishand Wildlife Service, the chances of wolves targeting humans are low.
“All we can go on is what has happened in the past,” said Carroll, a conservation biologistwith the Klamath Center for Conservation Research in Northern California. “There havebeen maybe two to three attacks in the last decade, in Canada and Alaska, where thereare thousands of wolves.”
1 Why do conservationists believe that the cages are just a stunt?
(A) There have been no documented wolf attacks in New Mexico or Arizona.
(B) The anti-wolf campaigns are paid for by conservative political groups.
(C) The cages were built by students in a high school shop class.
(D) Wolves generate a lot of heated emotions in America.
2 People have been protesting against protection plans for all of the following reasons, EXCEPT:
(A) They are politically motivated.
(B) They have heard about wolf attacks.
(C) They have seen wolves attack humans.
(D) They are worried about the safety of their kids.
3 According to the article, all of the following are true, EXCEPT:
(A) The anger has discouraged scores of illegal killings of Mexican wolves.
(B) There have been no documented wolf attacks in New Mexico or Arizona.
(C) Canadian gray wolves were reintroduced into the northern Rockies in 1995.
(D) Anti-wolf campaigns often portray a wolf as a savage devil preying onchildren.
4 Select the paragraph from the article that shows that anger has resulted in more wolves beingkilled.
Conservatives and conservationists snap at each other over wolf planWolf Portrayed As Savage DevilA Loud Politically Driven DebateKids In Cages Like Chicken CoopsQuizAnswer Key