Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wolves II

IMG_4114 by ms. smartypantz

IMG_4114, a photo by ms. smartypantz on Flickr.

I adore wolves. I know that there are terrible stories out there about them, born of fear and loathing for a creature that's misunderstood, but they're mainly just stories and have little truth in them.

Wolves are predators, yes, like humans. However, they don't eat people or their babies! They are a social animal with rules within their communities. I went to college with a man who got lost in the tundra in winter, and he was saved (literally) by wolves. They fed him and they kept him warm. His art thesis was on his experience with these wild friends. I may have mentioned this in my older post, I don't remember. But it's important to note: we feared wolves for so long because they were after our livestock. That's the only reason our species hated them, as a species. They hunt the sick and weak of wild and domestic flocks of animals like elk, sheep, cattle, etc. We were in competition with them, but we needn't have been. They only hunt when they're hungry, and their predation actually keeps flocks healthy. Without their natural culling, grazing animal populations grow out of control and ecologically devastate the environment. (There are many examples of this in Colorado, where wolf hunting is deplorably legal, as well as the widely publicized problems in Yellowstone National Park after wolves were killed to extinction there. They've been reintroduced, and their presence has been the cause of major debates.)

I've visited the wolves at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary a few times. They are amazingly loving animals. When you look into their eyes, you can see their wild spirit, but it's not frightening at all... it's wonderful. They are caring creatures. They mourn the loss of their life mates. They have integrity and nobility. They embody traits that we wish to see in all humans, but rarely do. I love these beautiful creatures. 

I encourage you to set up a visit, if you're ever in Southern California, to go to Wolf Mountain Sanctuary. They ask for donations, if you want to go into the wolf compounds. It all goes to helping care for these wolves, some of whom were being used by drug dealers as "guard dogs," though they aren't dogs at all. Dogs are canines, wolves are lupines. They're the same species, but different family. For more information about their differences and similarities, you can read about them here

It is in my humble opinion that humans should never have messed with the setup that Mother Nature put in place in the national parks humans have created and called their own. They pulled out important animals, thinking that they would "save" the parks, only to find out that those animals they removed served a vital purpose in those wildlife systems. Then they introduce a different animal to take the place of the ones they removed and are surprised that things change. Well, it's not nice to mess with Mother Nature, and now everything is unbalanced where there was once stability. People should learn to leave things well enough alone. Say what you will, animals kill other animals, just as humans kill animals, to eat. But at least wolves only kill as much as they need to survive, whereas humans kill to extinction or, at best, endangerment. So who's the scariest predator? Humans.

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