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Revere the Wolf - Montana Ranchers and Wild Life

            The wolf was revered and worshipped as a god for many Native Americans, long before settlers sailed in from Europe. Some Native tribes believed the wolf created the land for them and other animals, while other tribes believed they were wolves before they were human. The wolf was a respected animal for hundreds of years and lived in peace with Native Americans. With such a rich history, the reintroduction of wolves in Paradise Valley, Montana would be with much importance, and would have an immense affect on the environment, wild life, and local ranchers. Wolves were hunted to near extinction, and as a result, affected the wild lands they once roamed. The extermination of wolves, in the eighteenth century, was brought to a climax with the expansion of settlers moving west. As settlers claimed their land, they saw the wolf as a threat to their livestock, and as a result bounties were given for killing wolves. According to Mallonee, "Wolves are killed mostly out of fear, hatred, and a perceived competition for the other animals that we do eat"" (Mallonee, 2011, p. 179). By the 1900s, the wolf population was reduced to a few thousand, scattered around North America. Wild life such as elk, caribou, and other natural pray to wolves were left unmanaged for lack of their natural predator. Overpopulation was the result and overgrazing occurred, leaving wild lands in deplorable conditions.
             The Endangered Species Act led to the reintroduction of wolves in Paradise Valley. In 1967, the North American grey wolf was placed on the endangered species list. In 1974, a wolf recovery plan was implemented in order to take the wolves off of the endangered species list. Almost twenty years later, fourteen wolves were captured in Canada and reintroduced into different parts of Yellowstone National Park. Ranchers from the surrounding areas, including Paradise Valley, saw the reintroduction as a threat to their livestock and land, even though in the percentage of wolves killing livestock was low.

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