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Wolf Proof Shelters Needed In New Mexico
By C. J. Williams
Yoopers are accustomed to seeing one-holer outhouse looking structures at the end of long driveways in the rural areas of the U.P. and know they’re meant to protect children from the wet and blustery cold as they wait for their school bus.
In New Mexico, however, specifically Catron County where the “re-introduced” wolf situation is particularly bad, one cash-strapped school district is building 20 wood and wire mesh wolf-proof shelters for its rural school children.
Like the U. P., Catron County’s once robust timbering and mining industries have become the victim of rabid environmentalism and government encroachment on county citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (See first link)
Several months ago, yours truly wrote about two Catron County school children that were stalked by a wolf while walking to their house, some distance from their bus stop. Out of fear and against what he’d been told to do when confronted by a wolf, the 13-year old boy grabbed his mildly retarded 11-year old sister’s hand and took off on a run through a brush-filled short cut to the safety of their home. Normally, a friend of the family would have picked them up after school and drove them to their front door, but it was the last day of school, the children were released earlier than normal, and there was some miscommunication among the adults.
It remains to be known what would have happened had one of the McCarty kids tripped and broke their leg or had the wolf and rest of the nearby pack overtaken them, so this story has a happy ending, that is if you can count children being petrified of going out in their yard as a happy ending. But, for many New Mexico kids and their parents, living in fear of wolves has become the norm, not the exception.
Although older children are allowed to pack a gun around their rural homes, they certainly can’t carry one to school, and at least a wolf-proof shelter will give kids of all ages a place to get into when wolves “prey-test” them at a school bus stop. Moms and dads often both work and older children are sometimes left to get themselves and siblings to the bus on time.
Unfortunately, wolves are also now lurking around schools in Catron County, as witnessed by reports of the Glenwood Elementary School quickly being put into “lock-down” mode after an uncollared wolf was spotted within 17 yards of the playground on November 29th. The Catron County Sheriff has since assigned an armed deputy to be on the premises when school is in session and to stand playground duty to protect kids from wolves while they enjoy their outdoor recesses.
In the colder climes, some schools near Fairbanks, Alaska, were also taking precautionary steps last month to safeguard children. Two Rivers Elementary School cancelled its after-school ski program after wolves were seen near the ski trails located in a wooded area, and parents of Walker Elementary School students have been advised to escort their kids to and from the school bus stop because of all the wolf sightings in the area. Walker Elementary has also taken the extra precaution of beefing up playground supervision after it was reported that three wolves were seen
trotting down the road less than a mile from the school.
Though it’s a far cry from New Mexico to Alaska, reports of human/wolf conflicts are getting to be the norm rather than the exception wherever wolves have been reintroduced. The so-called reintroduction programs have gone far beyond a need to study wolves all over the United States, and there is no absolute proof to the theory that reintroduced wolves are a necessary element of “healthy” ecosystems.
While parents in New Mexico and Alaska, and points in between are worrying about their children being attacked by fearless wolves, children in many other areas are being indoctrinated to join the ranks of pro-wolf environmentalists.
One such program was evident in Rhode Island where 12 and 13-year old students were treated to seeing a timber wolf on a leash at a school assembly. The director of a Colorado wolf sanctuary and education center told the children that “wolves play an important role in environmental management, helping to keep deer and elk populations balanced.” He explained that, “by eating deer and elk, wolves stop the depletion of grass, plants and young trees. The trees, in turn, grow larger and revive forests.”
A little closer to home in the Copper Country, at least one public library has been used to teach preschoolers, ages 3 to 5, that there is no such thing as Little Red Riding Hood’s “big, bad wolf”. The lesson plan, which is online and available for anyone to use, involves handpicking children’s books with a wolf or wolves as its subject, reading the books to the little ones during “story time”, and then discussing the children’s ideas about wolves before and after the books are read.
The objective of the lesson plan is to have the children come away from story hour able to discern fact from fiction about wolves, at least at their level of comprehension. Of course the teacher is ready and willing to dispel any myth regarding wolves, including the claim that a healthy wolf won’t attack mommy, daddy, or little Susie, as if it matters whether a wolf is healthy or not when people get hurt or killed.
The health of a pack of wolves certainly didn’t matter to the family of Olaf Halesrud back on January 18, 1902. Olaf, a farmer who lived about 10 miles north of La Crosse, WI, had been awakened during the night by a disturbance among his barnyard animals. After leaving the house to see what the ruckus was about, he was surrounded by a pack of wolves.
According to an account published in the New York Times, Olaf “attempted to regain the house, but before he had gone twenty feet the beasts were snapping and snarling at his heels. He tried to defend himself with a club, but several times he was forced to the ground. Each time, however, he managed to fight them off and gain his feet. Fighting his way inch by inch, he finally succeeding in reaching the door of his dwelling, staggered in, and drew the bolt.”
In that 1902 accounting it was reported that the farmer’s flesh was literally torn from his body in many places, he was in critical condition, and physicians said he couldn’t live. The Times also reported that wolves had been so numerous and their work so destructive in the vicinity (La
Crosse) that an organized effort was being made to hunt them down.
Discerning myth from fact regarding wolves isn’t a problem for the parents of 11-year old Zack Delventhal from Pennsylvania who was dragged from a sleeping bag and viciously attacked by a wolf in August 1996 while the family was vacationing at Algonquin National Park. Zack’s face was ripped open, his nose was crushed, parts of his mouth and right check were torn, blood gushed from below his eyes, and the lower part of his right ear was missing. Park officials killed the wolf, which was deemed healthy.
The death of Joel Carnegie at the jaws of healthy, but habituated wolves, in Canada in 2005 should have been a wake-up call to the environmentalist myth-busters who are trying to turn fact into fiction. Wolves are not an endangered species and the fact is that wolves have and will continue to maim and kill people whether they’re healthy or not.
The Real Cost Of Living With Wolves
Some Pictures Are From www.bigstockphoto.com
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