I wrote a post a while back, simply titled The Wolf – my thoughts. It drew such passionate responses, and some very long responses, that some of them I had to move into the body of another blog post. Many by professionals in the field of wildlife biology. Educated discussions are awesome, we all learn something. People have something to say when it comes to the wolf.
We are, like it or not, very connected to the wolf. We may not share exact DNA, but throughout the written history of the world, we have, the wolf and human, been very much a part of each others lives and livelihood.
Think about it, when someone starts talking about the wolf, or a wolf, we listen carefully. Besides being raised on a diet of cautionary ‘big bad wolf tales’, the wolf, in and of themselves, are sexy, fascinating, wild, and powerful predators. A lot to stand in awe of. People from all over the world come to the Yellowstone area to hopefully catch a glimpse of a wolf, or if luck is in their favor, an entire pack. And while I believe the raven is a beautiful and cunning creature on this planet, it’s not quite the same draw. I have yet to see people flock to Yellowstone to ‘hopefully’ catch site of a raven! The wolf garners attention, demands it really, simply by their presence on this earth.
Wolf hunting, and now trapping, are alive and well in the inter mountain area of the US. Fish, Wildlife, and Parks states, at every turn, that this is based on scientific evidence, and there are a certain number of wolves that need to be killed in order to maintain ecological balance. I believe the balance they are speaking about is based solely on the elk population in regards to elk numbers for hunting, by humans. The ‘certain number’ of wolves to be killed this year is in the several hundreds by the way. And this certain number is not limited to wolves or wolf packs that have been causing problems on ranches. The wolf hunt is indiscriminate, it simply means if you are a wolf you are a target.
This wolf hunt is more of a witch hunt, and that is undeniable. If you choose to deny that you are living in ignorance, plain and simple. The culling of wolves from our area is not based purely on science, if that were so than the wolf biologists in the Greater Yellowstone area would be supporting this cull, and they are not. The Predator Extinction Act in the early 1900’s was met with ecologists and biologists warning how this was not the way to increase deer and elk populations for human hunting, and they didn’t support it or recommend it. Let me be clear, it has never been supported or recommended by people/professionals that are actually in the field studying these animals, ever! And if anything in American History we should all learn from so it doesn’t repeat itself, it should be the very real cautionary tale from the witch hunts of the late 1600’s. People lost their lives, most in horrific, painful, and torturous ways, simply due to lapses in due process, mass hysteria, isolationism, and false accusations. Hmmmm, sounds like what is happening to the wolf today.
Every ounce of what you hear in the news today about the ‘science based’ approach to this new wolf hunting season is simply shrouded in politics. Anyone interested in the wolf, how they were reintroduced, the science and politics behind the reintroduction, and how hands were accidentally tied after the fact by bargains and agreements and the Endangered Species Act should sit down and read WOLF WARS. Many of the players during that whole process are still in our inter mountain area by the way.
I do believe if an animal is threatening your life or your stock, you should have the right to protect yourself. I do not believe in indiscriminate killing, killing for sport, or gloating about killing in any way. Taking a picture with an animal you just killed in any fashion, and smiling big, borders psychotic behavior in my book. Who smiles at death, especially if you made it happen? Taking an animal’s life for food and being grateful, I get that. Taking an animal’s life because you want to kill something, that doesn’t register as even semi healthy to me, on any level.
And then a friend sent me some disturbing information about wolves and the disrespectful way in which they were being killed and handled, and I came upon this gem of a facebook page Montana Wolf Hunting. It’s graphic, disturbing, disrespectful to life in any form, and it is simply about killing. Is this ALL of the wolf hunters in our area? I would seriously hope not, I would hope that some are ranchers that simply are trying to protect their stock, and purchased a wolf hunt license so they could do it legally. But this group is overt, and would like you to believe this is how all wolf hunters are, sad and scary. The ignorance, hate, and misguided judgment from some of the comments and photos is deeply disturbing. And to be very clear, these are some of the people who hold wolf trapping and hunting licenses sold by Fish, Wildlife, and Parks!
Wolves are predators, so are we. Nature has a way of taking care of itself, yet we seem to keep thinking we need to intervene and do it for her. Humans pollute, spread disease, we consume more than we need, destroy eco systems, kill, and hunt. I think we are more of a threat to this planet than the wolves.
Once again, I look forward to educated and passionate responses and discussions on this topic.