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July 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Cle Elum wolf pack sighting

Posted by Letters editor

Act will benefit many

Editor, The Times:

The presence of the Teanaway wolf pack in the Central Cascade region is an important reclamation of Washington’s wildlife heritage [“Wolf pack found near Cle Elum,” page one, July 6]. Their continued protection has implications for both the environment and for Washington’s tourism economy.

The return of these animals, after their complete eradication in the early 1900s, demonstrates the viability of Pacific Northwest ecosystems to support a wide range of species. Wolves are apex predators and hunt weak, sick or elderly prey, leaving stronger individuals to survive and reproduce.

In this way, they help maintain ecosystem balance and create more robust wilderness. Wolf recovery will also generate significant tourism dollars, has been demonstrated in other Northern Rocky regions.

Establishing a strong Wolf Recovery Act will re-wild the Pacific Northwest and benefit both human and wildlife communities alike.

— Kathryn Davis, Seattle

Time to fight for protection

As a Washington native, and student of forest ecology at the University of Washington, I was very excited to hear of the recent discovery of the Teanaway wolf pack. Against all odds, these animals have begun to re-establish territory in the Washington Cascades, and proved the natural balance of these glorious ecosystems can be restored.

Their return marks not only the success of the wolf as a species, but also a success on the part of all those who have fought hard to restore wolf habitat and populations in the area.

However, I write these words with cautious optimism, for the mere fact that these wolves have returned is not enough.

They still face deadly threats from many hunters and ranchers — people who refuse to use viable, nonlethal alternatives to killing wolves. Techniques such as using trained guide dogs and/or electrified fences are just two possible ways of dealing with wolves in a nonlethal, humane way.

Now is the time when we must fight for the protection of these amazing predators.

Once a keystone species for the entire Northwest, these creatures have the potential to bring a balance to these ecosystems that we have not seen for decades, maybe centuries.

— Ben Silver, Seattle

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