Animal activists protest wolf hunts at Capitol
Nearly 30 people gathered on the front steps of the Capitol building Friday to protest Montana’s wolf hunts. Beartooth NBC’s Kaelyn Kelly reports one animal advocacy group wants wolves back on the endangered species list.
In its second year, Montana’s wolf hunt continues to prove divisive.
"Stop the wolf hunt immediately. There's no need for it. There's not too many wolves. We know the reason why this is happening. It's favoring the interests of hunters and ranchers,” says Friends of Animals New York director Edita Birnkrant.
"We absolutely respect the rights of and the interests of other people, the opinions, the values. Not going to argue that those folks have that right. Our position and our job is to manage wildlife,” says Ron Aasheim of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The non-profit group Friends of Animals is supporting an economic and travel boycott of states that allow wolf hunts. Supporters of Friday’s “Howl-in” say wolves haven't had a chance to fully recover their numbers since being delisted as an endangered species.
"There's so few wolves that we're just starting to see the very beginnings of the positive ecological effects that they have on the environment,” says Predator Defense executive director Brooks Fahy
But Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson Ron Aasheim says his office employs wildlife biologists who closely monitor the status of wolves and other species in the wild.
"We've had instances where wolves are certainly a contributing factor to reductions in wildlife populations below acceptable levels, other wildlife populations, so we're managing wolves in balance with other species,” says Aasheim.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks has approved 220 wolf-kills for this hunting season. They say this is a carefully calculated number.11 of those tags have been filled so far.
Friends of Animals says they're planning more “Howl-in” events through other Montana chapters of the organization.
Story by Kaelyn Kelly, Beartooth NBC.
Copyright ©2011 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.