To the Editor:
Elk are the favorite prey of wolves. Because of this simple fact, many elk hunters view wolves as unwelcome competitors. Most are probably unaware that hunting elk is actually dangerous work for wolves; they are often injured or killed in the process. Consequently, wolves are risk adverse, meaning they target the most vulnerable elk— the sick, elderly, incapacitated, and the very young.
Human hunters, on the other hand, possess no such worries as they go about killing the best breeding-quality elk and deer — but that could soon change.
Based on a Health Canada advisory, this chilling article appeared in the Enviro News, Aug. 15, 2017, titled:
“HEALTH ADVISORY: Venison, Elk May No Longer Be Safe to Eat — Study: Deadly Chronic Wasting Disease Could be Moving to Humans
Alberta, Canada — Early results from an ongoing study testing human susceptibility to chronic wasting disease (CWD), a growing epidemic among deer and elk, has led Health Canada to warn “that CWD has the potential to infect humans.”
Chronic wasting disease is an incurable, inevitably fatal illness that can affect all cervids: deer, elk, moose and caribou.”
CWD has now spread to 24 states, including Texas, and two Canadian provinces.
For thousands of years, wolves have kept deer and elk herds healthy by weeding out the sick and the weak. They are especially unique in that they can identify sick animals which, to the human eye, show no symptoms of disease. Like them or not, wolves are our best natural ally for keeping CWD in check. Instead of killing these highly intelligent and gifted animals, they should be allowed to return to their historic range and be permitted to do what only they can do: identify infected animals and take them out.