Apathy, Cowardice, and Ignorance are the Deadliest Weapons of All (Wolf Song Of Alaska)

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. 


Apathy, Cowardice, and Ignorance are the Deadliest Weapons of All

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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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It seems as if evolution would have bred out ignorance, as ignorance is not productive. Humans are stewards of the earth, however, so it isn’t really about “survival of the fittest” with regard to humans and animal survival. We must protect the animals that have evolved and lived with us for so long.


    • If only fish and game thought like you g….



  2. Fascinating article! Unfortunately Alaska is the wealthiest State because of all the Federal land and FEDERAL funds it gets, and they are completely backwards in their thinking, they are currently threatening to kill 30 wolves on a FEDERAL Refuge! They have over-hunted and the caribou are down, so of course blame the wolves! I am afraid they will just go ahead and kill the wolves regardless of what the Feds say…they have already killed Federal wolves with radio collars on, and they just don’t care! I wish they were like the Kenyans!


    • Hi crystalwolf,
      The problem with Alaska is the same problem we have here in the Northern Rockies. The state game agencies that are in charge of wolves are stuffed with hunters and ranchers and no friends of the wolf. The are “managing” wolves for two interest groups and the rest of the wildlife viewing public be damned. It all starts with fish and game. They are the ones giving wildlife services their marching orders. It’s a terrible system and wolves, bears and other apex predators are on the losing end.



  3. We need to push for a new federal oversight agency…Fish & Game, being Fish,deer, elk,moose,caribou and other GAME animals.
    Wildlife agency would manage large non-sport wildlife, cougars, wolves, all bears, and even birds of prey etc?
    I am pushing for stronger laws for the NPS and NPS did recently flex their muscles when they shut down Yukon-Charley state wildlife refuge b/c of the pack that was Killed (the two alpha’s had collars on and were only less that a mile from the boundaries) So for animals in Federal lands NPS needs more power. I realize this is not so much a issue in lower 48 as Alaska…but still…
    Ideas, we need to bring the wolves under Federal protection and if that means demanding a new agency separate from fish & game so be it. With the recent tragic Gull ecocide it should be realized our wildlife is our most valued “jewel”. I also told those Oregon people… Boycotts on Oregon beef are Possible!!!


    • cyrstalwolf…I totally agree we need a new system…a paradigm shift in caring for wolves and other apex predators. As it stands now they are at the mercy of the state and feds that seem to be looking out for two interest groups. The rest of us will have to view wolves in Yellowstone I guess, because when they are done “managing” wolves here in the Northern Rockies, there won’t be many wolves for wildlife watchers to view. This has to change, business as usual is getting wolves killed.



  4. Opps that was meant for the Oregon wolf post…


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