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Archive for March, 2014

“And this is what happened, and this is why the caribou and the wolf are one; for the caribou feeds the wolf, but it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong.” 
― Farley Mowat

Cultural conditioning has dictated the fate of the wolf in the minds of the general populace. From fairytale stories like Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs, wolves are portrayed as the villain, the blood thirsty, carnivorous predator of fairytale land. Modern portrayals of this noble animal extend the cultural conditioning to the next generation. In Disney’s most recent movie, Frozen, wolves attack the protagonists in an attempt to kill the characters, prematurely ending the film. The wolves are depicted as wild and vicious, a direct threat to the safety of the human characters within the fairytale. The vicious wolf character could lend itself to creating tension and excitement in the plot of a story, unfortunately, the characterization of the predatory, evil wolf pack also plays out in the real world.

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On March 26, 2014, Idaho Governor Otter signed into law HB470, the Idaho wolf management plan. The Idaho wolf population is already struggling with more than 1500 wolves killed since 2011 when Congress removed the endangered species status for wolves in Idaho and Montana. This most recent lawmaking travesty provides $400,000 of funding to reduce the wolf population in Idaho down to only 150 wolves. This is outrageous, and what is the reasoning? It is to protect the interests of the livestock industry, who are also contributing funds to the effort of wolf reduction.

Idaho is not alone in their efforts to eradicate the wolf population from the continental United States. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service along with the Arizona Fish and Game department and the White Mountain Apache tribe has attempted to reintroduce the Mexican Gray Wolf back in to the wilds of the Blue Range Wilderness area.  However, the Arizona legislature in February 2014 earmarked $250,000 in litigation funds to prevent expansion of wolf reintroduction program, one of the big proponents of the anti-wolf policy, ranchers. It is frustrating to realize the power ranchers have over the wildlife practices of the government. Why should ranchers be able to dictate the terms of wildlife policy when they are getting free range for their cattle? That’s right; ranchers are free to graze their cattle on public land. Next time you drive down a lonely highway and notice barbed wire fencing on both sides of the road, think about the free ride given to the ranchers and the raw deal shoveled to the native creatures that inhabit the area. If ranchers are going to have free range on public land, then a little risk of wolf attack may be expected.

I am done ranting but there is an important principle that I want to emphasize besides my stance on wolf rights: coexistence. If you truly want to connect with nature you need to realize the complex web of which you are apart. Life on Earth is a complex matrix of interwoven and interconnecting energies which include plants, animals, humans, bacteria, the atmospheric conditions, water, and the other elements which combined create the system of life on Earth. John Muir clearly stated this point when he said, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

Here is my goal and challenge to you dear reader, find an environmental cause for which you are passionate about and become an activist. I don’t mean that you need to start protesting in front of the state capitol or tie yourself to a tree to prevent logging, but find a cause, learn more about the issues surrounding your cause and then do something to further the public awareness of your passion.

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For me, this post should give you a hint as to what issue I have chosen. I like wolves. It appalls me to realize the extent of prejudice and brutal slaughter the species has undergone at the hands of greedy individuals who care more for profit than the environment. It may not seem like much but I believe that every person can make a difference even with a small amount of effort. Take up the standard, choose a cause, and stand with those who wish to protect the Earth and all of its inhabitants not just those of the two-legged variety.

 

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