This one of the best articles I’ve read on wolf persecution and it’s root causes. The author, Edwin Wollert/Wolf Song of Alaska/Education Coordinator, puts it all in perspective.
by Edwin Wollert/Wolf Song of Alaska/Education Coordinator.
“Previous versions of this article have appeared on the Wolf Song of Alaska web site, and also been submitted to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
I tell my philosophy students on the first day of each semester in every course I teach that my job consists of helping them to become better thinkers. And in my studies of philosophy, I am often returning to the ancient Greeks, the creators of the first systematic rational philosophies as well as of the world’s earliest known democratic society, and there are some basic considerations in that part of history which are really the topic of this latest summary about wolf and wildlife education.
Democracy does not merely thrive and benefit from participation. It actually requires participation. And it must be active and ongoing. Apathy is precisely what kills a democratic organization, far more effectively than a hostile competitor or differing ideology could ever hope for. And this applies to all aspects of a democratic group: politics, policies, beliefs, and economics.
On the topic of economic interests, consider this: eleven years ago I went on a wildlife safari to the equatorial African nation of Kenya. Now I will not compare that ecosystem to Alaska’s, nor its wildlife to Alaska’s: vastly different climates, topographies, and species occupy each region. But what really stuck out, as we eagerly took to the field twice a day to look for the larger creatures, was the fact that during that trip I learned about a policy of the KWS, the Kenyan Wildlife Service, which is that country’s national agency for protecting and managing wildlife.
Field agents of the KWS are allowed to shoot poachers: on sight, without offering any warning. And when they shoot, it is not to scare or intimidate, but to kill. It is actually humans hunting other humans, legally. Poachers and rangers alike have been slain since Kenya first put its wildlife under such protection. The KWS would prefer to arrest and prosecute poachers, and frequently does, though more extreme measures have been deemed justifiable on some occasions.
How could a policy like this possibly be justified? you might wonder. This strong policy is based on Kenyans reaching a simple realization, in two parts: first, that Kenyan elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles, wildebeests, warthogs, rhinoceri, buffalo, hippopotami, various species of antelopes, and other “game” species are literally worth more, financially, alive than dead, and second, that the reason they are worth more is because people from other countries are willing to pay to visit Kenya for the specific purpose of seeing these creatures in their own habitats, bringing much needed wealth into the country by doing so.
Thus, there is no more legal trade in that nation in animal pelts, or horns, or, in the case of the elephants, in ivory. When the poaching policy was first instituted, the KWS invited CNN, the BBC, and the other major international news media to broadcast a live burning of millions of dollars worth of elephant tusks, to show that the organization was serious. That ivory could have been sold through illicit markets. It could have been turned into a hard currency, like dollars or euros or yen, which might have gone quite a long way in a country which is considered part of the “third world.”
So why would I share such a story with those of you who have already indicated at least a passing interest in Alaska’s wolves? I am not actually recommending that Alaska adopt a similar no-holds-barred approach to poaching intervention (although one might imagine that poaching would dry up rather quickly if we did, and yes, poaching does occur in Alaska). The reason for such an extreme measure is that a nation like Kenya is rather financially poor, and it needs the hard currencies brought in by visitors who are able to spare their disposable income on wildlife interests, while Alaska is instead part of the world’s wealthiest nation.
Rather, I relate the background of the KWS to point out one key detail: in Alaska, “our” wildlife is likewise worth more alive than dead. And this means all of it, not just the bears, or the moose, or the caribou, or the marine mammals, or the eagles and fish, but the wolves as well. With that in mind, there is an essential principle at work here which must be reiterated, since it keeps being ignored or glossed over by politics and the taking of sides, and which is non-economic even though it has economic considerations. The principle is this: an ecosystem must have predators.”
To read the rest of this excellent article: click here
Photos: wolf wallpaper
Posted in: gray wolf/canis lupus, Alaska wolves, Howling For Justice, Wolf Wars, wolf intolerance
Tags: aerial gunning of wolves, wolf persecution, wolves in the crossfire, Alaska wolves, Wolf Song Of Alaska
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