Wolves, political stupidity, and fear-mongering…by Mark Bekoff

Wolves, political stupidity, and fear-mongering: Wolves are a clear and present danger

Ignorant politicians ignore science and allow the continued slaughter of wolves

Published on April 21, 2011 by Marc Bekoff in Animal Emotions

Once again wolves are the target oirrational political and media sensationalism. To quote from this recent article: Despite enactment of federal legislation turning wolf control over to state wildlife management and allowing licensed hunting of the animals, [Idaho Governor Butch] Otter welcomed his new authority to bring law enforcement to bear against any wolf threats to humans or livestock.

The gray wolf of the Northern Rockies is about to become the first creature ever taken off the U.S. endangered species list by act of Congress, rather than by scientific review, under a measure inserted into a sweeping budget bill.” 

To quote from this bill: “The uncontrolled proliferation of imported wolves on private land has produced a clear and present danger to humans, their pets and livestock, and has altered and hindered historical uses of private and public land, dramatically inhibiting previously safe activities such as walking, picnicking, biking, berry picking, hunting and fishing … it is the intent of the legislature to regulate the presence of Canadian gray wolves in Idaho in order to safeguard the public, wildlife, economy and private property against additional devastation.”

A clear and present danger, safeguarding against additional devastation. Wow, how poetic and what a bunch of lies!

Of course, Governor Otter knows nothing about the biology of wolves nor does representative Lenore Barrett, R-Challis. But this doesn’t stop them from making misleading and stupid comments about these amazing animals. Ms. Barrett won’t let her grandchildren play outdoors because of the supposed presence of wolves. And, conveniently ignoring the fact that there haven’t been any wolf attacks on humans since they were reintroduced to Idaho in 1995, Ms. Barrett claimed: “They’re killers, they do it for sport, and then they leave their victim still alive for a lingering death.” Ms. Barrett isn’t alone in promulgating fear-mongering lies. As I pointed out in an earlier essay on the plight of wolves, politicians, including Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, ignore science, and others who know nothing about the biology of wolves don’t hesitate to express stupid and misleading opinions.

READ MORE: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201104/wolves-political-stupidity-and-fear-mongering-wolves-are-clear-and-prese



Fear mongering (or scaremongering) is the use of fear to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end. The feared object or subject is sometimes exaggerated, and the pattern of fear mongering is usually one of repetition, in order to continuously reinforce the intended effects of this tactic, sometimes in the form of a vicious circle. (Wiki)

The following article is a prime example of what Mark Bekoff is talking about


Ravalli County commissioner claims wolves ruining quality of life

HAMILTON – Ravalli County residents no longer feel safe letting their children play outside because wolves are so prevalent in the Bitterroot Valley, County Commissioner Suzy Foss contends.

Foss recently listed her concerns in a letter to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks director Joe Maurier, the five-member FWP Commission and Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

“Ravalli County is under great duress due to the overpopulation of gray wolves within our borders,” Foss wrote. “Our citizens, and in turn our county government, are suffering direct negative impacts to our general welfare and most especially the safety of our citizens and our local economic vitality.”

Read more: http://missoulian.com/news/local/article_652303ce-de85-11e0-b621-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1XztJClNt


To suggest wolves are a threat to children or anyone else for that matter in Ravalli County, has no basis in fact.  There has not been one single wolf caused death in the lower forty-eight in the last hundred years.  Not one wolf caused death since wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in 1995. But people can and do say anything. Demonizing wolves has become a sport in the Northern Rockies.  Does the Missoulian consider this nonsense to be news?

These are real dangers to children and adults  in Ravalli county and across America. that have nothing to do with wolves.

Bee Stings

40 to 100 fatal bee stings in US per year

When One Bee Sting is Your Last



Dog Bites and Fatal Maulings

(We all love our dogs but facts are facts)

2005/2011 – 186 Fatal Dog Attacks

4.7 million dog bites per year 



Montana 2008 

81 fatal accidents in Montana where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.08% or above

91 people were killed in Montana in accidents where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.08% or above

12 people were killed in Montana in accidents where at least one driver had a BAC between 0.01% and 0.07%

103 total deaths caused in Montana where at least one driver had a BAC of 0.01% or above 



Sex Offenders/Violent Offenders

Montana Department of Justice  ·  Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

83 registered sex offenders in Ravalli County

83 registered violent offenders Ravalli County

(Hamilton, Darby, Pinesdale, Stevensville, Coravallis, Florence, Victor, Florence)


Hunting Accidents

How Safe is Hunting by Young People?

 From CASH website:

Of 333 documented hunting accidents in our database for the years 2004 and 2005, the percentages break down like this:

 63 accidents (injuries and fatalities combined) of children aged 18 and younger (18.92% of all accidents)

 34 accidents that resulted in injury to children aged 18 and younger (10.21% of all accidents)

29 accidents fatal to children aged 18 and younger (8.71% of all accidents)

 27 injuries of children aged 11-18 (8.11% of all accidents)

7 injuries of children aged 10 and younger (2.10% of all accidents)

 27 fatalities of children aged 11-18 (8.11% of all accidents)

2 fatalities of children 10 and younger (0.61% of all accidents)

Of 333 hunting accidents that I came across for 2004 & 2005, 135 of them resulted in fatalities (40.54% of all accidents)

Hunting Accidents 2010



Deer Auto Accidents

“There are more than 1.5 million crashes involving deer each year which cause over one billion in damage, 150 of the deer collisions are fatal, and there are more than 10,000 people injured.”

Montana in top five nationally for car vs. deer crashes

Read more: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_1e474d2e-ac56-11de-aa73-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1Y0L5eq4D

“Throughout the centuries we have projected onto the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves”..Barry Lopez

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Posted in: Wolf Wars
Tags: Ravalli County, gray wolf hysteria, wolf myths, fear mongering
Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 12:59 am  Comments (21)  
Tags: , , ,

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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The states’ ill-gotten permission to kill wolves doesn’t make any of the inane anti-wolf drivel they’ve been spewing out since 1995 any more credible.
    I swear some people must trade their brain for a gun.


  2. I am livid over the entire wolf crisis, but spastic over the statement “imported wolves”. Not only does the governor NOT know anything about the biology or behavior patterns of wolves, but he knows NOTHING OF GEOGRAPHY! The gray wolf is the NORTH AMERICAN WOLF – there is no such thing as the Canadian wolf!!! LAST I LOOKED, AMERICA WAS ON THE CONTINENT OF NORTH AMERICA WITH CANADA! Of course, georgraphy was never a strong point for these idiots – recall Palin last year claiming there were only 4 continents on the globe!! May they all perish for their stupidity, fear-mongering, and hatred!


    • The problem LInda is the media is so hungry for controversy that they stoke the flames and give the haters a platform to spew their hate. If the local papers didn’t quote this garbage these groups would be relegated to blabbing their lies to each other on FB.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  3. Let’s not forget that man considers himself on top of the food chain,but someting so small such as a mosquito can bring man down by one bite. Millons die annually by the infectous diseases they carry.


    • Rita..We have to remember this is a cultural revolution and we are challenging the old paradigm that says we are superior to all and can do what we will with animals. They don’t want to believe animals have feelings, that animals love, yet we see it every day in the eyes of our dogs, the closest relative to the wolf. The haters are pushing back against this as hard as they can because they know their old ways are dying and one day our views will be accepted. Someone I just spoke to compared this to the civil rights movement and in a way that’s true. We are in a struggle to change the way animals are treated in this country and around the world. Of course the killers don’t like this, they want things to stay the way they are, so they don’t have to think about that face on the other of the bullet. It’s all about dominion and believing we are superior to all living things, instead of living in harmony with the world. It’s a radical concept huh? The Native Americans understood it well.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  4. Just thought you might like to be copied on the email I just sent our esteemed councilwoman Suzy Foss. If I have rambled, it only because of my great emotional distress at this tragedy. It is growing among these ignorant people like mass hysteria. Thanks for all the good work you are doing.

    Crying Wolf in Ravalli County

    You recently gave an interview (posted in the Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by Whitney Bermes) where you made extremely inflammatory statements such as “Ravalli County is under great duress due to the overpopulation of gray wolves within our borders.”

    Excuse me?? I am a taxpaying landowner just outside the city limits of Hamilton. You know what I am afraid of when I am alone on my land? Bears. That’s it as far as wildlife is concerned. Oh, I once was dive bombed by an osprey because it thought I was too close to its nest.

    My greatest fear after that is falling and hurting myself on my land. I am completely surrounded by trees; no one would be able to hear me call for help.

    NOT ONCE have I heard or seen ANY signs of a wolf. You are making mountains of mole hills. You are just trying to cause unnecessary fear in people that will make you sound really good in your upcoming election. All you are doing is trying to rally a lynch mob to garner votes.

    You and people like you are completely off the charts in your deliberate ignorance about wolves. Where is your basis in fact? Granny wasn’t eaten in order to get to Little Red Riding Hood nor is she in danger of being eaten. Wolves do not; I repeat, DO NOT eat people. Please show me the absolute scientific proof. Please inform me of your true knowledge, not hearsay, on this subject and your qualifications to “teach” me. As of right now, I will be campaigning against you.


    • Tell her like it is Grandma!

      Heart Hugs


  5. Please let wolves live free & without fear.


    • We are working hard Ronda….

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  6. Terrific post Nabeki, you are a true warrior.

    Political and stupidity are definitely magnets that attract. It’s always the path of least resistance to ignore then attempt to comprehend. And an excuse is like warm taffy, it tends to stick if you don’t know how to handle it. These haughty elected don’t care about wolves, and nothing short of a Saul to Paul epiphany will change their minds. It’s time to elect people who don’t have their heads attached to the wrong end.

    Politicians never have to prove their competence, they just need to convince the cameras and know how to invoke word play while putting a few sentences together. If you can manipulate the word…you can control the thought. Fear mongering has always been the trump card throughout history, and it will continue to be dealt as long as ignorance presides and is embraced. All that is required is to strike the right chord and the note will resonate. Whether real or perceived, if people can actually feel the threat in their gut, they will always react, it’s flight or fight. Human insecurities have lethal consequences, and it has always been death for the wolves.



    • Thank you Spirit Wolf…it’s our duty to speak out against ignorance and fear mongering wherever it’s lurking.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  7. A wolf could do a far better job governing a Northern Rockies state than the current governors are doing right now. Even a paramecium would run the state better than the current leaders ever could.


    • Oh so true Pete. We have to eliminate the “management” paradigm altogether. Wolves are self regulating, they don’t need managing. These so called “managers” are just interested in turning our wild places into giant game farms to benefit their customers, the hunters.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  8. I am writing to you from Stevensville, Montana at the heart of the Bitterroot Valley.
    The lies being spread about wolves me really sick and I find it so hard to believe that people are so ignorant to believe this stuff.
    During the summer of 2010, a black pick up truck came to Stevensville and plastered posters all over town of wolves with fangs sticking out dripping with blood and wolves chewing on the dead carcasses of animals. Some of the local store keepers actually put these pictures in the store windows. At the Stevi cafe, I was waiting for my brother to get done with work when a man came in yelling about “those damned wolves” and how they were coming to people’s house and attacking them. An old time ranchers looked up at the man and said, “You ain’t from here–are ya?” The man that was yelling replied, “No. I am from Minnesota and work for the oil companies.”
    It is really clear that the lies and myths about wolves in Montana and Idaho are being spread by special interest groups for their own economic and political gain.
    We need to educate the general public about wolves so they can recognize when people are spreading lies.


    • We will break through and spread the wolves’ message. They have been abandoned by many who call themselves supporters. Sometimes the silence is deafening but we will build new coalitions and start over from the ground up. We are just beginning, so take heart Toni because we’ll never abandon wolves. The fight is on to save wolves from another extirpation.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  9. You’re right, they obviously do not know a thing about wolves, and are probably too arrogant to find out the truth about this magnificent and highly misunderstood animal. They’re just basing their “facts” off old, shrivelled stories that should of died out long ago.

    As you said, there are many, many more things that are of a much higher threat to humans. Wolves are one of the most harmless creatures for their size, speed and power. I am still stumped as to how people can believe these stories, there is so much proof out there that wolves are not the sort of creatures who are going to kill your children and maul your mother. Yes, wolf attacks on humans do happen, but they are extremely rare, and there is always a reason, even if we do not know what that reason may be. It’s beyond me how such a intelligent and social creature could be demonized so badly.

    And, quality of life? How on earth could wolves lessen our quality of life? In my opinion, they enhance it greatly. Think about it, if wolves didn’t exist, neither would dogs, man’s best friend, who helps us with so many things that life would be much more difficult without them. Here’s a few things that dog’s help us with. Sheep and cattle herding, companionship, hunting, tracking, guiding, exhibiting, breeding. We also use their senses (which came from the wolves) such as their nose, for sniffing out explosives, diseases and even mould. So much for them ruining our quality of life, fools.

    Wolves do not kill for the fun of it, they are far too intelligent to spend the time and the effort bringing down an animal for fun. Humans are the only creatures that do this. Yes, orcas do play with their food, and sometimes they only eat a tiny bit of it. But that animal that they didn’t devour fully will feed many other animals of the ocean, depending on it’s size. If a wolf kills an animal, and then leaves it, untouched, it is because the wolf is using it’s brain. If times become hard, the wolf will come back to that kill and eat however much it wants to. If times do not become difficult for the wolf, and prey is plentiful, that carcass will feed many other animals, including corvids, aquila, ursidae and others.

    I could go on, but I don’t particularly like to think about the absolute rubbish that people make up about the wolf all day long.

    So, as a conclusion, people should do their research before spewing lies about this already mist-shrouded creature with more heart than most care to believe.



    • Thank you Zarago, you are right on the money. The problem with the anti-wolf movement is they are not interested in facts. They parrot whatever their “leaders” tell them without ever doing their homework. It’s just endless, mind numbing hate that’s spewed toward an animal they probably have never seen in the wild. It’s just cool to some of them to be anti-wolf. Basically these are very immature people. The wolf has become a symbol of everything that’s wrong in their lives and they project those negative feelings onto wolves. It’s really more about unhappy people with no other outlet for their rage then demonizing or even killing wolves. It’s text book “projection”. Of course they can’t see past the ends of their noses. They constantly complain about elk numbers dwindling when there are almost 400,000 elk in the three wolf states. It shows how blind these people are. Also, I like elk but not to the exclusion of all other animals. I think the elk numbers we’re seeing now are much higher then historical levels. Basically the fish and game agencies have turned our wildlife into commodities they can profit from and please their customers, the hunters.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  10. The elk population has risen, because the wolves are culling the ill and elderly, individuals that spread disease are killed, thus there is less risk of the rest of the herd catching that illness. Elderly elk are important for the survival of the younger. An elderly elk will fall behind the rest, meaning the wolves will attack and kill that animal, giving the others more of a chance to breed and survive. If there were no wolves, elk numbers would explode and the land would be stripped bare, as we have found out with what happened in Yellowstone.

    I do hope that these ignorant political fools will see how wrong they’ve been, Nabeki. But of course, they’re too arrogant to admit it.



  11. Thank you for exposing the lies of those who hate wolves because it interferes with their ability to let their livestock graze wherever they want without any security.


  12. Why is Lobo Watch saying that the Canadian wolf is bringing Hyper Tapeworms into the U.S.? How do we know, for certain, that other species like elk or coyotes didn’t do it?
    They’ll all be happy when the entire country is overrun with deer, coyotes, and feral dogs. I’d rather face a wolf any day than a feral dog.


    • The scare tactics concerning wolves and tapeworms hasn’t worked since we have 72 million dogs in this country and many of them carry tapeworms, in fact any canine can, including foxes, coyotes, dogs or wolves. I did a post on this about a year ago. I might point out that the people who handle wolves the most, biologists, don’t seem to having an outbreak of hydatid disease. More fear mongering.

      Tapeworms and Wolves OH MY!!

      Tapeworm evolution revealed
      Friday, 14 June, 2002, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
      By Dr David Whitehouse
      BBC News Online science editor

      Humans gave tapeworms to cows and pigs – not the other way around as was thought.

      This conclusion is based on a new study of the characteristics, lifestyle and genetic evolution of tapeworms.

      The research reveals that the three species of tapeworm that infect humans have been bothering us for millions of years. When modern man emigrated from Africa in the past million years or so, he took the tapeworm with him.



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