A barely-recovering endangered species being deliberately driven back towards extinction, all for political gain.
Is that the legacy we want to leave as Americans?
It’s obvious the intent now is toexterminate wolves across the United States, all to appease greedy special interests, welfare ranchers and so-called ‘sportsmen’ – although no true, ethical hunter I know endorses any of the highly questionable, morally reprehensible methods being used now, including poison, traps, snares, baiting (sometimes with the corpses of beloved pups or family members), hounding and the gassing or crushing of PUPPIES in their dens.
In a short time, this important top-tier carnivore, one who shapes and invigorates the ecosystems in which he reigns, has gone from iconic, beloved, Federally protected species, (although still struggling to recover from human attempts to eradicate him from the face of the Earth), to being treated like vermin.
Unlike vermin, however, wolves reproduce neither as quickly nor as effectively as, say, rats, nor have they been able to withstand our zeal to eradicate them. Hence, unlike rats, American wolves were on the verge of extinction then, virtually extirpated from the continental US, and even now, after decades of effort to restore them, have barely regained even a fraction of their former range.
Also, unlike ‘vermin’, they are crucial and beneficial top-down modelers of the wilderness systems they inhabit; Systems which not only co-evolved WITH and DUE TO wolves as a primary driving agent, but only thrive in full vigor and diversity when wolves remain in place to fulfill their age-old role as nature’s original, supreme game managers.
Genetic viability of wolves was already being questioned before the unbridled killing resumed two years ago.
Now, we have placed the future of wolves even more gravely at risk. This time, it will be worse for them because wolves are losing what little genetic diversity they had. This time we are unraveling decades of restoration work and investment.
Please don’t send America back to the dark, ignorant and brutal era of assuming it is our place to dominate and control every facet of Nature. Science, religion and fundamental philosophy have learned too much to justify such an anthropocentric and foolishly self-defeating mistake.
Wolves, along with elephants, apes, cetaceans (whale and dolphins), many birds such as parrots and ravens, as well as (perhaps surprising) animals such as prairie dogs, with their complex social systems and communication (language) have been proven to think, feel and bond with friends and family, just like humans do.
They have all been been proven to be inextricably bound with, and influential on, the places they live, effecting not just other animals, but plant communities, watersheds, soil structure and more.
In other words, everything was working beautifully and correctly long before humans entered the scene, and humans risk catastrophe when we dare to meddle with systems complex beyond our comprehension.
We think it’s OK, our prerogative, even our responsibility, to ‘tame’ and ‘manage’ the grand Creation.
Yet – Again and again, it backfires on us.
More, there are the ethical considerations. Like with all those ‘pesky’ or inconvenient species that humans loves to hate.
Slaughtering them, any of them, is crass, but especially, in this case, when we go out of our way to find truly innocent wolves (minding their own business out in the wilderness where they evolved and where they belong), with the intent of massacring entire packs (in reality, close-knit families) for ‘sport’, it becomes increasingly unconscionable.
It makes the way Americans treat wildlife no better than the way dolphins and whales are currently slaughtered in other countries.
Do we want to be like that?
Some (erroneously) claim wolves interfere with their livelihood. Well, some people have always had to find someone or something else to blame for their bad fortunes. If not wolves, it’s the weather. If not weather, the government. If not government – Well, you get the idea.
That’s the crux of this entire issue. Slaughtering every creature on Earth that someone can (mistakenly, fearfully,angrily, wrongly) scapegoat, every perceived and paranoid phobia that something ‘out there’ is going to make life hard for us, personally and as a society, will leave us with an empty, lonely and ultimately dead planet.
And, I dare say, a lonely and empty people.
And, it won’t solve our underlying problems.
Killing wolves will not make the government stop repressing you or make your income go up or save your marriage.
Killing all the wolves, all the coyotes, all the whales, all the otters, all the prairie dogs, all the badgers and eagles and snakes and sharks and foxes and bobcats and mountain lions and African lions and elephants – You get the idea – Killing all those and more will not make human life more prosperous, more meaningful, easy or safe.
It will make life on Earth emptier, more difficult, pervasively dull, shallow, and precarious.
Instead, Nature, humans and the planet will ultimately thrive well into the future, complete with Her full compliment of species, if we learn to respect, appreciate and cooperate with the great, intricately interconnected and glorious tapestry of life we were GRACED with. And our salvation, both personally and as a civilization, will be realized if and when we can learn to live in true harmony, with tolerance, appreciation and respect for all our fellow life forms.
Especially our intrinsic, emotionally igniting, dynamically wild and awe-inspiring wolves.
Imagine that: The Earth, complete and vibrant, teeming with wonder and life, with wild, free-roaming wolves expertly fulfilling their historic, custodial roles of caretakers of our precious countryside.
Comment period for an expanded and deadlier wolf season is ending soon. Here are some talking points:
Strongly OPPOSE removing further protections from Gray Wolves in the US, SUPPORT maintaining and increasing protections for Mexican Wolves as well as reinstating further protections for all wolves in the US.
Not only are wolves far from fully recovered, with large portions of appropriate habitat still unoccupied, but the current, bloodthirsty and unethical killing spree is just the tip of the iceberg of what wolves would face if remaining protections are removed. The political climate of this country is not conducive to protecting wolves or many other integral and irreplaceable species, even though science and reason indicate that the world needs robust biological diversity, top-tier predators and large areas of unabashed, unexploited and uncompromised wilderness and open spaces. The vast majority of voters support continuing wolf recovery and wish to see thriving populations of free-roaming wolves exist in available wolf habitat.
Let the US lead the way of enlightened and far-seeing thinking when it comes to stewardship of our precious, living Earth, rather than catering to small-minded and unsustainable planet-sabotaging actions with long term (or forever) consequences.
We are not equipped to see all the ramifications of our actions, especially when it comes to removing any of the complex, interwoven, interconnected and interdependent threads of the tapestry of life.
Leave your comment against removing further protections from wolves, here:http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-2013-0073
Another place to leave your input. Sign this letter (just one of many ways to speak out for wolves): http://www.howlingforwolves.org/letter
New links to follow to leave your comments against the further de-listing of wolves:
Make official comment against wolf delisting here.
USFWS press release on extended comment period and hearings here.
(Previously published on Examiner.com)