Opinion: After Lauren Boebert's Latest Bill, a Gray Wolf Responds | Westword

Boebert Beat: The Gray Wolf's at the Door

A hypothetical response from Den Mother to the Colorado congresswoman's "Trust the Science" act.
Representative Lauren Boebert, here captured the very moment she realized she was holding one of her visual aids sideways.
Representative Lauren Boebert, here captured the very moment she realized she was holding one of her visual aids sideways. YouTube
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Representative Lauren Boebert's "Wolf Bill" passed the U.S. House of Representatives on November 7 as part of the 2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. The move was predicated on the 2020 de-listing of the gray wolf as an endangered species in the lower 48 United States; considered a "success story" of the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the gray wolf population has been estimated at around 6,000, suggesting a significant recovery over previously collected data from the Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes regions.

Boebert and Tom Tiffany, a Republican rep from Wisconsin, led the charge on what's officially titled the "Trust the Science Act," along with 22 other members of Congress. The bill passed through the House Natural Resources Committee with a recorded vote of 21-16.

In a press release from her office, Boebert had this written for her to pretend to say: “The science is crystal clear on this issue: gray wolves should no longer be on the endangered species list. The constant back-and-forth on this matter goes against the best available science. We can no longer put farmers and ranchers in harm’s way by using taxpayer dollars to protect a species that has been fully recovered and that is destroying their livestock. It is time for the federal government to get out of the way and allow state and tribal wildlife agencies to manage this species.”

Government wasn't yet ready to fully "get out of the way," however, enabling rule 10(j), which designates introduced gray wolves as a "nonessential experimental population" and specifically allows states to create their own rules for the management of the animals. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has praised the move for giving the agency more flexibility in this state's reintroduction plans, which are scheduled to begin before the end of this year, as required by the passage of Propositio 112 in November 2020.

While the scientists and politicians have made their cases, we thought it might be useful to contact the subject of the bill itself — the gray wolves. We got in touch with one female gray wolf who wanted to be identified only as "Den Mother."
click to enlarge wolf in dark
A gray wolf being annoyed at the constant political paparazzi.
"First off, let's just talk about how ludicrous it is that a bunch of modern Republicans chose to call this bill the 'Trust the Science Act.' I mean, come on," Den Mother says, shaking her head. "More like 'Act Like You're Trusting the Science,' am I right? I mean, these are the same people who claim that the science on global warming is still debatable. The fact that she talks about the science being crystal clear must have all the climate scientists out there just about to tear out what's left of their hair."

Den Mother admits that she enjoys it when humans are frustrated. "Makes them smell like cinnamon," she says.

"What's so ironic about this whole thing is that we didn't ask for any of it," continues Den Mother. "We didn't ask to be put on the list in the first place. We didn't ask for a list. We were doing fine until humans kept moving into our territories, and then blammo — we're suddenly the issue. 'Farmers and ranchers in harm's way,' my hairy butt. You move into someone's home and then complain that they're hanging around? My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother used to have a lovely little den and a wide-ranging feeding ground near a clean water source back in the day. Know what's there now? Flatirons Mall. But sure, we're the problem."

But if Boebert and her congressional colleagues want to talk about recovery of the species, Den Mother raises a paw in protest. "Don't talk to me about this 'fully recovered' scat," she says. "Six thousand of us is full population? Says who? We're few and far between, still and probably for good. Where do we have left to live? I suppose now that humans have claimed most of our habitats, 6,000 might cover what's left, I don't know. I'm not a scientist, and Fenris knows Boebert isn't, either. But we know shit when we smell it."

click to enlarge man in tietalking in front of woman
"Here I am! I'm real!" says Wisconsin Representative Tom Tiffany, who is in no way a puppet being controlled by the woman seated behind him.
Den Mother also claims to recognize the reek of desperation. "Look, it's not like I follow politics all that much," she admits, nuzzling one of her pups with her nose so it rolls over with a happy whine. "I have six pups this time around, and this is my fourth litter. Unlike Representative Boebert, I've actually given birth in the front seat of a truck — it was an abandoned flat-tired Chevy missing its passenger door in a fallow field up in Lyons. Ain't nobody got time for maternity leave, right? But wow, it's like everything that Boebert does is out of sheer panic that someone's going to find out she's completely unqualified for where she's found herself, you know? And Tom Tiffany? Who is that, anyway? I've never heard of that guy. I'm fairly sure that Boebert just made him up so she'd have a friend.

"What really gets me," Den Mother goes on, "is that whole bit about the federal government getting out of the way. At least politicians like Boebert used to be consistent, but these days, it's all back and forth on government, willy-nilly according to whatever the issue is at hand. The current GOP doesn't seem to know their ass from a hole in the ground, and this is coming from someone who knows both asses and holes in the ground. They want no government interference on one thing, but want government to dictate medical decisions between a woman and her doctor? And again, science is only trustworthy when it's convenient to your argument?

"Here's my message to Lauren Boebert," Den Mother adds. "List us, de-list us, whatever. Vilify us or protect us, either way. We don't really care. But if you're going to champion one environmental cause, understand that you have to champion all of them in equal measure, because the Earth is an ecosystem. It's not just wolves — it's water, it's weather, it's the land and air. It's all of it. Don't pose and smile too long with your one isolated pro-science bill. Get started on the next one, this time to combat the damage being done to the world. From one bitch to another (that's what your friend called you on the House floor, right?), you have to stand strong for what you believe. So: Do you propose to fully 'trust the science'? Or are you just one more wolf in sheep's clothing?"

In the end, according to Den Mother, to most wolves and a growing number of voters in Colorado CD3, none of Boebert's bluster may matter. "I was reading the New York Times last weekend — something one of my older pups picked up out of someone's driveway," she says. "There was an article in there saying that Boebert wants forgiveness, but even her former supporters might want a change. We recognize that sound you might be hearing, Representative Boebert, if you're even listening. That's the sound of wolves at your door." 
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