Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Wolf and Us

A century ago in this country, farmers and ranchers tried to make the wolf extinct through poisoning, trapping and shooting, but this was an ill guided policy.

Wolves attack people in fairy tales more than in real life. They also fulfill an important role in nature. Wolves help cull herds of wild animals. They will eat the deer who are lame, injured or slow moving. Without this natural predator, there is no check on the growth of deer and other populations of other game animals. In many parts of the country, they have had to have special, additional hunting seasons just to bring the herd size back down what the land can support.

Wolves will also eat smaller wild game, from mice to rabbits when they do not get deer. Every animal plays a part in the world. If we eliminate one from the cycle of life, others get out of balance. Wolves are also a natural adversary of coyotes. During the years when the wolves were artificially surpressed, there was nothing to check the rapid expansion of the coyote into urban areas.

The fact that the wolf population has come back is due to the efforts of various governent agencies and volunteer organizations like Defenders of Wildlife. They oversaw the reintroduction of wolves into various wild places around the country.

I am prompted to write about this today because once again, the government is planning on lifting sanctions agains wolves and some gun happy shooters cannot wait to shoot as many trophies as they can. This is not because they are hungry to eat wolf meat. In places like Alaska, it is hard to even consider it a sport when you see hunters in aircraft running down their prey, and in some cases using semi-automatic weapons to shoot them. That's not really much of a sport.

I am not against hunting. I am a meat eater and I think if a person wants to go out and shoot game so that they can take it home and eat it, that is perfectly fine. That is not what shoot wolves is about.

Wolves have long been an animal totem associated with the wild spirits of shamans, ancient gods, and symbols of the wild itself. We need our wild parts and our wild places and we need all creatures in the cycle of life.

I have supported the reintroduction of the wolves and am against the delisting of them as an endangered species, which allows the laws to change so that some trigger happy shooters can go out and try and make them extinct again. This is not a wise choice.

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