The conflict over wolves

I read Nicholas Evans’ novel “The Loop” recently which caused me to skim through parts of it all the while knowing exactly what was occurring in those paragraphs.
It wasn’t merely fiction. I knew very well those incidents are ongoing in America’s wildernesses.

Evans’ story brings very close to the skin the perilous state of wolf survival. I sign petitions day after day to save wolves in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and wonder, like thousands of us who do, why the Fish & Wildlife people are not protecting wolves more. Evans depicts the F&W function in those states as a balancing act between wolf-hating cattle ranchers and nearly hopeless attempts to re-introduce the animals and monitor their well-being.

The main wolf-hater in the novel is a man who scorns us as “bunny huggers”, and I suppose he represents cattlemen all over the country. We bunny huggers may not appreciate the cost of slaughtered cattle but on the other hand we do seek to preserve not only wolves but an entire spectrum of wildlife that is being killed off all over this world. Despite horrendous daily mortalities among human beings, our numbers continue to burgeon and to encroach upon habitats of animals that may become extinct. We pollute the atmosphere and waters, setting the Earth on a path that soon will have no return. Our forests, especially in the Amazon and Indonesia, are being cut away at a rate that is unsustainable for wildlife.

Yes, I care. I manage to avoid eating meat 95% of the time and I know my puny efforts to conserve the life of animals in shrinking habitat are effective only 5% of the rest of the whole.

Will we have any elephants left in a decade? Will the new wealthy Chinese finally grow tired of acquiring ivory trinkets? Is the Chinese government sincere in imposing a ban on ivory imports or is it just lip service to appease international concern? Other borders of entry encompass entire southeast Asia. What are they doing to stem the trade? I do not believe they care about world opinion, while the poachers continue to shoot and poison elephants to supply the demand.

These “big-game” hunters who pay $60,000 for a license to kill a trophy animal belong on my wall of human trophy heads. Times have moved on, gentlemen, from the days of Ernest Hemingway. Move on, yourselves.

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