Just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico one should not be surprised to see groups of children in wooden or metal-mesh cages lining the street. No, it’s not a community outbreak of child abuse nor is it some kind of twisted zoo, but instead these cages are there to protect children from the Mexican wolf. In a report from The Los Angeles Times, these cages are popping up all over New Mexico and Arizona despite the fact that there have been no documented wolf attacks in either state.
Mexican gray wolves are the most endangered in the world—in 1998 only there were only seven living specimens—and have recently been reintroduced into the wild in the southwest. Given the lack of any actual attacks on children, it is believed, according to Fox News and others, that these cages are part of a general “anti-government” sentiment that is held by many in the southwest.
Ranchers in the area claim that the federal protection on wolves is an overreach of their authority and infringes upon their rights to protect their private property. According to Salon, the California director of Americans for Prosperity, produced a documentary called “Wolves in Government Clothing,” and wrote on Townhall.com, “[w]hat kind of society accepts the idea of children in cages while wolves are free to roam where they choose?”
In a National Geographic interview with a wildlife ecologist who has studied wolves in Yellowstone for 18 years named Daniel MacNulty, he points out that the question of whether or not the slapdash cages would actually protect children is moot. He says, “wolves are not sharks. Cages are unnecessary because wolves aren’t going to be attacking children at the bust stop.” He called such claims “fear-mongering and unhinged from the facts.”