Plan to end protections for wolves makes sense

Southern Minnesota and northern Iowa are not directly concerned about the predations of gray wolves. But there are other trouble-makers that residents watch out for. If people in the region were told there was nothing they could do about coyotes or cougars (or some new predator), citizens would feel their rights endangered for a rather controversial reason.

So we have 100 percent sympathy for the residents of northern Minnesota (and elsewhere) who have sought a lifting of protections for the gray wolf. Federal wildlife officials late last week announced a draft plan to end those protections in the lower 48 states. They say the 6,000 wolves living across the Northern Rockies and into the Great Lakes region are enough to ensure the species survival.

Ranchers and others in the ag industry will be relieved, while wildlife advocates lament the news.

The wolf, like some other wild creatures, is a bygone animal, in the sense that once humans push into an area and claim it as their own, that animal’s demise is inevitable. The alternative would be for the humans to abandon their developments and return vast tracts of land to nature. That may be what some environmentalists envision as ideal. It is also a fantasy.

People suggest the demise of the wolf upsets the “balance of nature,” or something. But the wolf is not necessary, as its near extinction once proved. Humans are more than willing and capable of culling herds of animals that the wolf preys upon. This is called “hunting” and is very popular.