Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer the other day closed off the state to transporting bison that left Yellowstone to slaughterhouses. It was a political tightrope act for the governor in trying to appease his rancher and environmentalist constituencies. An act we supported. Yesterday Governor Schweitzer sent a letter to the Department of Interior and said he is authorizing Montana game officials to kill off entire wolf packs in his state to protect ranchers cattle and the lucrative elk hunting herds. The letter and action violates the Endangered Species Act of which the wolves are covered by. There are roughly 150 wolves in the entire state of Montana. There are over 3,000,000 cattle, and just within the boundaries of Yellowstone there are 15,000 elk. This does not include the 160,000 elk that freely roam Montana. Wolves as a predatory species cull the weak and sick elk from the herds. One pack will eat one elk per week, or other species in the park. Elk in Yellowstone have devastated the natural flora because of over grazing due to the size of their herds. When wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone they brought the number of elk back down to their proper levels that the park could sustain. The wolves initially expanded because there were so many elk, but now their own populations have dropped in response to the lower number of elk. Wolves play an important role in maintaining a proper eco system. Shooting them for killing an occasional cow, or elk on rancher’s properties is not the answer. The wolves play too vial of a role in maintaining balance throughout the Rockies.