Wyoming’s outdoors have been defined by a hunting and ranching narrative for generations, but in reality, wildlife watchers outspent hunters in the state in 2011. Now, Wyoming wildlife needs their help.

It’s time for wildlife watchers to speak up about the rapidly spreading diseases like chronic wasting disease that pose a grave threat to Wyoming’s ecosystems and wildlife. CWD is always fatal, and once present, can remain in plants and soil for years. If it reaches a state feedground or the National Elk Refuge, where animals are densely packed together, CWD will decimate herds and endanger the regional recreation, tourism and hunting economies.

CWD has no cure or vaccine. So what’s the solution? Let nature do its job. Wildlife watchers need to demand better wildlife management to restore and maintain precious, balanced ecosystems that support healthy populations of wildlife and, thus, our state’s economy.

The first step is to urge the state to phase out feedlots and, instead, manage game herds in balance with their natural habitats. This includes restoring predators like gray wolves statewide, which will cull sick animals and keep game herds healthy.

Conserving healthy wildlife supports the booming outdoor economy, whose value gets overlooked too often. It’s time to sustainably manage Wyoming’s wildlife and economy for all people.

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