Press Release: Murie Family Cautions Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Over Anti-Wolf Rhetoric

July 18, 2012
For more information contact:
Bob Ferris (Cascadia Wildlands) – 541.434.1463
Josh Laughlin (Cascadia Wildlands) – 541.844.8182
Murie Family Cautions Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation over Anti-Wolf Rhetoric—America’s first family of natural history asks RMEF to return to science and reason
Glendale CA—The Muries—arguably America’s first family of naturalists—sent an open letter today to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation asking them to either curb their anti-wolf rhetoric or stop using the Murie name in association with their organization.  The Foundation currently uses the Murie name on their website and other materials as well for their periodic granting of the Olaus J. Murie Award honoring the work of elk scientists.
The letter from Donald Murie—Olaus Murie’s son—was the result of a growing dissatisfaction with anti-wolf statements made by David Allen president and CEO of the elk conservation organization.  Mr. Allen is a vocal proponent of aggressive wolf control that he says could include aerial shooting and even gassing wolves in the dens.  
“[Y]your organization has declared all-out war against wolves; unreasonable, with no basis in science at all, wholly emotional, cruel and anathema to the entire Murie family,” said Mr. Murie in his letter to Mr. Allen. “We cannot condone this.”
Mr. Murie was particularly critical of RMEF’s apparent dismissal of the importance of the role of large predators such as wolves both to elk populations and to ecosystem function—his father and uncle providing some early scientific underpinnings in this field of study.  He argued in the letter that the Foundation’s public posture on wolves, “…is in total opposition to the findings of careful independent research by hundreds of scientists. Wolves have always been a necessary part of a functional habitat for elk and other game animals. They have been re-introduced into areas where their absence has resulted in ecological imbalances. Now you are determined to exterminate them once again.”
The Murie family is known primarily through the work of the four senior Muries: brothers Olaus and Adolph and their wives Margaret (Mardy) and Louise.  All were accomplished naturalists and wilderness advocates whose collective and individual efforts resulted in the creation or expansion of national parks and refuges such as Denali National Park, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and additions to Grand Teton National Park; numerous scientific and popular publications on natural history; and a collection of awards from nearly every major conservation organization as well as the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award Medal (Olaus), Presidential Medal of Freedom (Mardy) and the John Burroughs Medal (Adolph).  The last of the four senior Muries—Louise Murie McLeod—passed away recently at the age of 100.