Ed Bangs, who for 23 years led the effort to reintroduce and recover healthy wolf populations in the northern Rocky Mountains, is retiring from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in June.
Bangs laughs at people’s impression of him, noting that “wilderness groups loved me” when he was reintroducing the wolves, and the ranchers hated him. That flipped once he decided the science showed that wolf populations had recovered enough to take them off the list of animals protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
My upbringing was to complete your job; when we started there were 10 wolves near Glacier. Now there’s 1,700 in six states and they’re being delisted. That’s pretty rewarding.”
As he prepares to walk away from his life’s work, Bangs knows that he’ll always carry it with him, in a sense. In an e-mail, he explained a statement posted on his office wall from someone saying how wolf scars are sexy — which, in his classic self-deprecating manner, the bachelor noted that apparently they aren’t.
One canine tooth went through his wrist and he had a few crush marks, but luckily it didn’t break his arm. He finished the day’s work before getting it checked out in the emergency room.
“I did learn a valuable lesson (that) next time someone asks you to hold a wolf down for them ask if it is immobilized,” Bangs wrote. “But I am an especially fun date during full moons!”
What an amazing job for anyone to have on their resume.