Wolf War Zone

Wolves are archetypal, bigger than life: devil dogs and spirit animals, fairy tale monsters and ecological heroes, sport killers and family units. Wolves are smart, social, strong and somehow connected to our deepest core ... and our deepest yearnings as well as our deepest fears. 

Wolves now stand in the center of a war zone between protection and annihilation. The wildness we cherish comes with a price often not evident in documentaries. The following are some of the sources that will give you a sense of the passionate conflict surrounding wolves.

*** On the side of protection, the federal agencies, conservationists and people involved with the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park:

Doug Smith -  Wolf Project Leader for the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction program, co-author with Gary Ferguson of Decade of the Wolf, Returning the Wild to Yellowstone. This is an excellent overview of the Yellowstone project. However, since this is such a rapidly changing project, this book published in 2005 is a bit dated.

Rick Lamplugh - writer and wolf-advocate extraordinaire has written a 5-part overview of the wolves and the issues as part of his not-to-be-missed blog. Rick reads an excerpt from his Amazon best-selling book, Temple of Wolves, here.

Part 1: We Should Thank--Not Hate--Wolves
Part 2: How Wolves and Humans Are Alike
Part 3: The War on Wolves
Part 4: How to Build a Culture That Respects Wolves
Part 5: Dispersing Wolves Need Federal Protection
 Jim and Jamie Dutcher - wolf advocates, founders of Living With Wolves, Mission: Living with Wolves is dedicated to raising broad public awareness of the truth about wolves, their social nature, their importance to healthy ecosystems, and the threats to their survival. We build acceptance that can lead to coexistence between people and wolves sharing the same land.

*** On the side of the hunters and ranchers and those who fear wolves and think they should be eradicated or managed to a smaller scale:

Idaho Fish and Game Wolf Management - their Predation Management Program flyer states ...

To fulfill its statutory responsibility, Idaho Department of Fish and Game must efficiently and effectively manage all fish and wildlife, including predator species, to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish and wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping. (emphasis added). 
Their Wolf Management Plan is an almost schizophrenic attempt to appease the wolf interests while maintaining their right to control the wolf population. A telling statement in the introduction is: The State of Idaho is on the record asking the federal government to remove wolves from the state by the adoption in 2001 of House Joint Memorial No. 5. The position reflected in House Joint Memorial No. 5 continues to be the official position of the State of Idaho. Hunting rules include the term "wolf harvest." 

The state maintains that "non-lethal" methods of control are not feasible.

Idaho for Wildlife - this organization's mission is listed at the top of their website:

"To protect Idaho's hunting and fishing heritage. To fight against all legal and legislative attempts by the animal rights and anti-gun organizations who are attempting to take away our rights and freedoms under the constitution of United States Of America. To hold all Government and State Agencies who are stewards of our Wildlife accountable and sure that science is used as the primary role for our Wildlife management." (capitalization is as shown on the website.)

David Johnson - Wolf Control Works, writing about management in Alaska .

Dealing with wolves isn't a simple issue.

Wolves are beautiful, wild animals who are excellent hunters. Humans are beautiful, tame animals who are also excellent hunters. Both often like to eat the same things. Both protect their families and defend their territories. Both like freedom. 

One has decided that he has the power, the weapons, and the right to control the other, and, therein, lies the issue to be decided.

Some say we hate wolves for the same reasons we love them: because they are like humans. Smart, loyal to family, and freedom loving, they are also fierce defenders of territory, determined to survive and willing to kill to do so. However, in the past 100 years, there are only 2 documented wolf killings of humans; conversely humans have killed, and continue to kill, untold numbers every year. 

Genocide is defined as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. If that definition including animals, wolves would be considered victims of genocide. 

As it is we have a different term we use when talking about wolves, coyotes, cockroaches or other forms of life we consider "vermin": extirpation, to destroy or remove something completely.

Like all wars, this one is filled with stories of heartbreak. Sometimes, it's a challenge to remember that hearts break on both sides.

Example: One story:  A couple whose territory overlaps with wolves loses a prize colt in a wolf attack. They retaliate and kill the wolf. The story provides a sense of the couple's grief, frustration and fear involved. It does not tell the wolf's side of the story or its hunger or fear at dealing with humans.

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