I read David Quammen's book "Monster of God" a few years ago. It's about how humans interact with large and dangerous predators like Asiatic lions, saltwater crocodiles, and tigers. One of his main conclusions is that animals and other species of the same ilk need to be managed with the goals of not only preserving them, but letting local people benefit from them. Tourism is part of it, but so is hunting. People are more likely to protect animals that provide quantitative value to themselves. So much of wildlife conservation is qualitative, and very little is quantitative. At least that's how Quammen sees it.
Obviously the Mexican wolf population in the Southwest isn't ready to face pressure from legal hunting, but hopefully one day we'll see a wolf population that can sustain hunting because its population level is healthy. Liz has brought up how wolves provide quantifiable value by dispersing elk herds, and many of us have read how wolves in the northern Rockies have dramatically improved the ecosystem there. I'm not sure what it will take to educate the folks in the White Mountains about the value of wolves, but perhaps there needs to be more carrots because the sticks ain't working. People are shooting wolves despite facing a massive fine and possible jail time.
"Oak-town is the city of dope...couldn't be saved by John the Pope"
Fran & Kimo please keep watching over us with your aloha spirit so that we may remain safe. A Hui Hou Kakou