DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA
On November 4th of this year I wrote a letter to President Obama about the pending decision of whether or not to de-list wolves from the Endangered Species Act. I had the letter sent from the Reagan Library; obviously they have a special way of getting correspondence to the president. I got no reply from anyone in the West Wing. So I am posting my letter here. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many, this administration is throwing the Endangered Species Act (wolves in particular) under the bus. Why? I don’t know. To try and appease Obama’s opponents? Perhaps. The reasons don’t matter. Magnificent animals are being slaughtered ruthlessly…for no reason. This is the letter I sent:
Dear President Obama, I am writing you because at this moment, men with high-powered rifles are ruthlessly hunting wolves in Wisconsin, Montana, Michigan and Idaho. In the last 3 weeks, nearly 200 wolves have been killed in Wisconsin, twice as many as were killed in the entire hunting season last year. You are obviously aware — since this is happening on your watch — that Fish and Wildlife is considering removing wolves from the endangered species list entirely. Hundreds of thousands of us — who supported your election and never thought this would happen on your watch — are dismayed and disheartened by the cruelty and irresponsibility of a government agency that has, to date, blocked the opinions of scientists and biologists who are trying to point out that wolves are in peril, that their future is a fragile one, that they are still very much endangered.
I first learned about wolves from my father. As much as he loved this country, he wasn’t blind to the indiscriminate slaughter that marked the “settling” of America. He told me how wolves were nearly brought to extinction by the men who simply wanted them out of the way. (Wolves and American Indians, which is why Native Americans aren’t fond of Columbus Day.) It was my father who first told me about the loyalty of wolves within the pack, about how the pups are mothered by every female within the pack, how their social structure is complex and supremely intelligent. He told me that to understand our dogs, I needed to learn about wolves. In 1995, when wolves were re-introduced to Yellowstone, I spoke to my father about it and, even though Alzheimer’s was stealing much of him, he understood that a wrong was being righted.
Now we have gone backward. The same people who don’t want more gun control, the same people who spew hatred at you, want to return to the worst of America’s roots and once again slaughter wolves. The gun lobby is powerful, as you know. So is the anti-wolf lobby. Actually they’re one and the same. But I believe that humanity and decency are more powerful. I learned that from my father.
Right now, we seem to be losing the battle to save these magnificent animals. State agencies, as well as Fish and Wildlife, have been hi-jacked by the anti-wolf lobby. Photos are posted on-line of grinning men brandishing rifles, standing over a dozen dead wolves. There is a photo of men in white masks who compare themselves to the KKK, holding up a dead wolf and vowing to kill them everywhere, in every state. I wonder how you would explain those photos to your daughters. If my father were here, it would break his heart, and then it would anger him enough to try and do something about it. Those of us who supported you believed you cared about all the creatures on this earth. Please don’t prove us wrong. We don’t want to live in a world in which the call of wolves is just in stories because the men with guns won.
At my father’s ranch, he used to listen to the coyotes at night howling and yipping in the hills. He listened hard for a wolf’s cry, but said sadly they were gone from that land. Once upon a time, they called from mountaintops on moon-filled nights. But they were slaughtered mercilessly. My father didn’t understand hunting; he would never raise a gun at an animal. He believed in God’s balance of nature. I think even God is weeping over where we have come to now.
Respectfully, Patti Davis