2.24.2008

gray wolves to lose protected status in u.s.

This makes me very sad.

I've been reading about this, but haven't blogged about it. Twenty years of re-growth will be flushed away. Murdered.

I love wolves. I'm fascinated by them, and dream of one day seeing a wolf in the wild. The closest I've come was when, walking in a dry stream bed in Alaska's Denali National Park, we spotted a huge paw print. (Was it still wet, or do I imagine that?) Just knowing a wolf had been there gave me chills. Park rangers told us they'd been at Denali for six winters without ever seeing a wolf. Wolves have only one natural predator, and they do their best to avoid him.

Wolves are highly intelligent, highly social animals, and to my eyes, among the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Of course they are the ancestors of the animals I share my life with. It's no coincidence I favour dogs that most resemble the wolf.

For amazing wolf photography, Jim Brandenburg's Brother Wolf (about the elusive timber wolves of Minnesota) and White Wolf: Living With An Arctic Legend are the best I've seen. Rick Bass's The Ninemile Wolves is great, as is almost anything by David Mech. In fiction, a wolf story that broke my heart: the first part of Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing.

For more on the delisted wolves and other endangered wildlife, National Resources Defense Council is very good. Wolf Song of Alaska, based in Anchorage, is an excellent wolf education and conservation group.

This is very sad news. And so in keeping with everything happening in the US. So much destruction.

wolf01


wolf02_not tala
This is not Tala.


wolf03


wolf04_pup


wolf05


wolf06


wolf07_black


wolf08_pair

23 comments:

James said...

More idiocy from the "I need a gun to prove my worth" crowd. I propose that the new rule be amended so that the hunters can only use weapons they create on-site from available materials. That should make it a little more sporting.

We're no Bradenburg, but we do have some nice wolf photos up at Flickr, from the Toronto Zoo and the Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre.

MSEH said...

Great photos and, yes, a disappointment, to say the least. Do you remember my landing story? We had just crossed back over the border in Northern Minnesota, listening to a Canadian musician's (Aaron Burnett) song, "Song of the Wild," and howling to ourselves when a wolf loped across the road in front of us. It was jaw-dropping cool - context and all. In the almost 13 years I've lived here, I've never made it up to the International Wolf Center in Ely. Don't know that we'll be able to now, but I'd always hoped to do so.

L-girl said...

James, thanks for linking to your photos. I should have remembered them myself.

MSEH, I do remember it! I was so amazed!!

The dog-sledding trip we were supposed to make in 2004 (which we cancelled after deciding to move to Canada) was based out of Ely. The trip would have been in the Boundary Waters Area.

Now it looks like we'll dog-sled in the Yukon!

Anyway, thanks for sharing your wolf moments, you guys.

MSEH said...

P.S. It's Brandenburg. ;-)

And, if you haven't seen the book or the DVD (the latter co-produced by my university!) for his "Chased by the Light," check this out: http://www.jimbrandenburg.com/gallery/90%20day%20images/chased_by_the_light.html.

L-girl said...

More idiocy from the "I need a gun to prove my worth" crowd.

Yes. Also pressure from the livestock industry (which loses a few animals each year to wolves - and which are compensated for it) and the general anti-environmental crowd.

I propose that the new rule be amended so that the hunters can only use weapons they create on-site from available materials.

A la Star Trek! That might eliminate a few useless people as they died from exposure. The wolves won't kill them - they'll be busy hunting their own dinner.

In Alaska, wolves are hunted from helicopters.

Wolf Song of Alaska is the main wolf education centre up there. They contributed mightily to my fascination with wolves. Lots of good info on their site.

MSEH said...

Okay, that link got messed up. Just go to www.jimbrandenburg.com, Gallery, and Chased by the Light.

L-girl said...

Ack! I know his name, that's a typo. Fixed now. Thanks.

L-girl said...

The dog-sledding trip we were supposed to make in 2004 (which we cancelled after deciding to move to Canada)

Should say 2003.

Not that it matters, but for the historical record :)

James said...

Also pressure from the livestock industry

There are far more efficient ways of controlling wolves getting at livestock than hunting. But those wouldn't involve killing things, so I guess they don't count.

A la Star Trek! That might eliminate a few useless people as they died from exposure. The wolves won't kill them - they'll be busy hunting their own dinner.

Depends on how much of a pain they make of themselves. They could end up like Timothy Treadwell, the self-proclaimed bear expert who got both himself and his girlfriend eaten in Alaska.

L-girl said...

Depends on how much of a pain they make of themselves. They could end up like Timothy Treadwell, the self-proclaimed bear expert who got both himself and his girlfriend eaten in Alaska.

But bears like to eat people. :) Or they sometimes do. Wolves really want to avoid people. Of course if they made themselves too much of a pain, the wolves would have no choice.

L-girl said...

If you click on the "Brother Wolf" link in this post, that's the photo on the book cover. An amazing photo.

Amy said...

This is heartbreaking. Why anyone would want to kill one of these gorgeous animals is just beyond my ability to imagine. But then I would feel that way even if they were not gorgeous and did not look like dogs. I just don't understand hunting at all. I go out of my way to avoid squirrels that cross the road in front of me and to remove insects from inside by taking them outside, so the thought of intentionally killing an animal for no other reason than the sport of it is completely perverse to me. (OK, I admit that I do kill the ticks I take off the dog---I hate ticks.)

L-girl said...

I can't understand it either, Amy.

I don't understand how people can call hunting a sport. A sport where only one side chooses to play. And if he loses, he goes home without his trophy.

The other side is not given a choice, must run in terror for its life. If it loses, it bleeds to death.

Some sport.

Especially when they hunt from helicopters, rounding the animals up and killing them with automatic weapons. Very sporting.

L-girl said...

And yes, I know this is a contradiction because I eat meat! I can still oppose it!!!

OK????

:>)

James said...

Especially when they hunt from helicopters, rounding the animals up and killing them with automatic weapons. Very sporting.

Don't forget Dick Cheney's favourite form of hunting: keep the animal in a pen, then release it directly in front of the "hunter" so he can blast it (and his lawyer, for good measure).

Amy said...

To me there is no contradiction between opposing hunting and eating meat. Hunting is a sport done for the thrill of chasing and killing an animal. Killing an animal for the purpose of eating it is different. I have chosen not to eat red meat because I cannot imagine killing the animals myself. I pass no judgement on what other people eat or do not eat.

L-girl said...

Thanks, Amy. I know that's how you feel.

Cornelia said...

Accidents with wolves are very rare, for sure, so people needn't be scared, so why---???

Cornelia said...

The pics are so cute!
I think young wolves can be tamed and that's how dogs first came to live with people in the Stone Age?

Cornelia said...

This is not Tala.

I think husky dogs look somehow similar to wolves? The same is true for Alsatian shepherd dogs?

L-girl said...

I think young wolves can be tamed and that's how dogs first came to live with people in the Stone Age?

Yes, it's though that dogs came to be domesticated when young wolves - maybe orphaned and hungry - broke through their fear of humans.

I think husky dogs look somehow similar to wolves? The same is true for Alsatian shepherd dogs?

Yes - and Tala is a mix of the two! She is a husky-shepherd cross, and looks very wolf-like. She has a lot of the hunter in her too. She is very sweet and gentle with people, very good-natured, but she chases squirrels and birds like crazy - very "prey-driven", as it is called.

Cornelia said...

Thanks so much for the info, Laura!

She is very sweet and gentle with people, very good-natured, but she chases squirrels and birds like crazy - very "prey-driven", as it is called.

Kitties have that instinct or biological need or drive, too, re: mice and small birds and lizards etc.!

L-girl said...

Yes! I think it's fascinating to see these wild instincts in our domestic animals.