March 10, 2010

Haven't we carved enough space out of this planet for us? Do we really need to start invading the space that our wildlife occupy and then complain that somehow the wildlife is a burden because they are there? 

I was at the bookstore the other day flipping through National Geographic. The cover was a picture of a beautiful wolf, my most favorite creature. On the cover in bold white letters were the words "WOLF WARS." Of course, I couldn't walk away, I had to look inside. I intended on reading the article but I don't know why since I already knew what it was about but it didn't matter, I got side tracked by the pictures.

In One photo a hunter proudly displays a dead wolf with a rifle laying across its carcass, another was of a man overlooking the bones of a dead elk but the photo that left me in disbelief was the one of several hunters holding up signs protesting the protection of wolves. One sign read "Don't you care about the elk and deer." (or something to that affect). I literally laughed out loud. Um... so we are suppose to care about elk and deer if a wolf kills it but not when a man kills it? Last time I checked American hunters had enough money to buy a gun and hunting attire so I don't think they are experiencing an inability to buy food so if anyone has rights to that elk and deer it is the wolf, the one creature in nature that relies heavily on that elk and deer for survival. Even Native Americans managed to co-exist with wolves in a time where hunting animals for food, clothing and weaponry was a necessity, so why can't modern day hunters do it?

Some of the main complaints about wolf populations:

1. Wolves kill livestock.

What most people aren't aware of is that farmers are compensated for loss of livestock due to wolf attacks.

How farms are compensated

Guess what? Now they are being compensated for the loss and for the kill. Looks like farmers get to have their cake and eat it too!

2. Wolves are dangerous to humans:

This is NOT TRUE! My neighbors dog is more dangerous than a wolf. Statistics on Dog Attacks
One comment I read on a wolf protection forum was a hunter saying he hated being referred to as a Red Neck just because he advocates killing wolves. Well, when you spout idiocy and clearly show that you have no education on the matter of wolves, what else should you be called? Uneducated opportunist are the two words I use.

Only 17 cases of people killed by wolves were found in the last 50 or so years in the whole of North America, Europe and Russia - 50 people in a human population of roughly a billion people. Facts based on the last study

More info on wolf attacks

More info on wolf attacks

Here are a couple of comments I've read on the net by those who support killing wolves:

anybody who has a problem with killing wolves OBVIOUSLY does not have them living in their back yard!! well I do and i cant even let my kids outside to the back yard or walk to the bus stop!!!

Good job. We dont have any wolves here but have coyotes. They are nothing but a problem. Could not imagine how much damage wolves would do. I have to let my dogs out at night wearing my revolver or carrying my rifle to protect them against the yotes.

Now the wolves do have the right to be in idaho, ONLY if they are held in check. Those of us that listen with both our ears know that there are similarities between wolves and Obama.

A sense of entitlement anyone? Why do so many Americans believe that we somehow have more right to this land than any other creature? and how does someone go from explaining why they hunt wolves to comparing a wolf to Obama? As for the coyote comparison to wolves. My backyard is full of coyotes. The city warned us to keep an eye on our small children and little dogs. Ok. So we have to be more cautious (with coyotes), you don't see me advocating killing them, you see me following common sense practices of not letting my 3 year old and chihuahuas run unattended in the woods behind my house. Something a parent should be conscious about anyway!

One person even posted that those of us not afraid of wolves only feel this way because we've never seen one in the wild or heard one while camping outside. Well, both happen to be untrue for me. In 1991 while traveling through the Shoshone National Forest I had the privilege of seeing a wolf. It was a very unusual experience but one I'll never forget. We also have wolves in Minnesota so they are often heard in the evenings while camping up north close to the Canadian border. The sound doesn't elicit fear in me, it creates a sense of wonder and beauty. When someone is afraid of seeing or hearing a wolf it means they've been watching too much t.v.!

Bottom line is, if you can't respect wildlife then stay in your house. Animals have a right to be on this planet just as much as humans and if you don't know what a magnificent creature is then it is time to start acquainting yourself with something more than just a rifle. Hunting has its place but its place isn't killing wolves for sport or out of fear!

cindy said...

We have a neighborhood pack of wolves here. We have been told to not leave the large dogs out alone because they will attack as it is their natural instinct. Otherwise they are more likely to run the other way than attack a human. A lady I met up here carries an airhorn with her when she rides to scare off the critters. She says it works very well on both the wolves and the bear. I have not seen any coyotes, but I know they have them around the area. The mountain lions are quite populous around here too.

The wolf howl is a lonely eerie howl that I hear at night when I take Pablo out. I think we have never learned to respect nature correctly. I don't understand hunting for pelts, antlers to make lamps, or a head to mount on the wall. I guess I really enjoy seeing the animals God put on the earth in their natural habitat. Watching the deer this winter has been a true joy. I was please to hear that if there becomes a problem bear in the area, they move the bear up to the Porcupine Mountain Park area.

Nice thoughtful article Michelle.

Michelle said...

Thanks Cyd!

The knowledge that they've legally made it open season on wolves in Idaho and Montana is disturbing. They claim it is about revenue as well which ironically statistics show that revenue for states like Wyoming have increased by millions since the wolves have returned.

I know here in MN we have a number limit on the amount of deer and wolves that are allowed. The DNR does population control - I'm not too fond of that either but since I'm not acquainted with the pros and cons of over population there isn't much I can post about that but be assured, if it ever becomes open season on wolves here I'll make my voice heard!

Anonymous said...

I have idiot neighbors who think coyotes should be killed off...and snakes and...well, probably anything that threatens their sense of self-importance and their idea that they are at the top of the food chain and can do anything they want. Ugh...don't get me started! Like you said, the neighborhood dogs do more harm. We have not lost a single chicken to coyotes, but have lost 3-4 to neighbors' dogs.

Great post, as always, M!

Michelle said...

Hey T,

I kept seeing what I thought were dogs in the backyard just beyond our fence. At one point I commented that I was surprised people let their dogs run freely back there and thats when one of the neighbors told me what I was seeing wasn't a dog but coyotes. I'm always on guard when I walk through the woods with my dogs, making sure I'm ready to scoop them up if a coyote pops up. Although I'd probably be too slow.

Chickens and coyotes make me think of that cartoon... remember wile e. coyote? If coyotes did become an issue are there ways to protect them? Is that what the roosters do or are they for smaller threats? I've been curious about that since wanting chickens.

Thats so sad about your chickens being attacked by dogs :( I know how much you care for your chickens, that must be heartbreaking when it happens.