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WHO SPEAKS FOR THE WOLVES? AN EXPLORATION OF THE HUMAN WOLF CONFLICT IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES BY KAITLYN BOCK A Thesis Submitted to the Dep ar tment of Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida i n partial fulfillment of the requi rements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies Under the sponsorship of Erin Dean Sarasota, Florida January, 2012
ii Acknowledgements and Dedication A big big BIG thanks to my academic advisor and thesis sponsor, Erin Dean for being patient and wonderful and a great professor. To Bob Johnson, w hose environmental history class started this thesis. To my friends, for keeping me laughing during the tough parts To beautiful Montana, the place I called home all last summer and where I fel l in love with the wildlife of Yellowstone. And finally, to the wolves, to whom I dedicate this thesis.
iii Table of Contents page Acknowledgements and Dedication ................................ ................................ ................... ii Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 1 Chapter One ................................ ................................ ................................ 5 Biology ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 5 Taxonomy ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 5 Evolution ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 7 Description ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 8 Growth ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 10 Geographical Range and Habitat ................................ ................................ ...................... 11 Diet ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 13 Behavio r ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 14 Social Structure ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 15 Achieving Dominance ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 15 Breeding Systems ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 17 Communication ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 18 The Reach of Science ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 21 Chapter Two: History of the Human Wolf Conflict ................................ ....................... 22 Colonial Period ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 22 Wolfers and Western Expansion ................................ ................................ ....................... 27 Chapter Three : Cultural Influences and Perceptions ................................ ........................ 40 The Power of Myth ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 40 Early Settlers ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 42
iv Native Americans ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 47 Chapter Four : Reintroduction and Reacceptance ................................ ............................. 52 Considering Reintroduction ................................ ................................ .............................. 52 Public Attitudes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 54 Controversy ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 55 Change in Ecology ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 60 The Red Wolf Story ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 62 Recovery ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 63 The Return ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 65 Red Wolves Today ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 67 De listing of Northern Rockies Gray Wolf ................................ ................................ ....... 69 Wolves in the Public Eye ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 72 Chapter Five : Meeting the Wolf ................................ ................................ ....................... 74 Seacrest Wolf Preserve ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 75 Defenders of Wildlife ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 80 Yellowstone & The Buffalo Field Campaign ................................ ................................ ... 85 Con clusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 91 References ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 93
v List of Figures page Figure 1 A gray wolf at Seacrest Wol f Preserve ................................ ............................. 10 Figure 2. Historical gray wolf range ................................ ................................ ................ 12 Figure 3. Current gray wolf range ................................ ................................ .................... 12 Figure 4. A gray wolf chasing a hare. ................................ ................................ ............... 13 Figure 5. The quota for wolf heads for Native Tribes in the Colony of New Plymouth .. 24 Figure 6. Confirmed livestock depredations and control actions ................................ ..... 70 Figure 7. Wolf compensation trust summary ................................ ................................ .... 83
vi WHO SPEAKS FOR THE WOLVES? AN EXPLORATION OF THE HUMAN WOLF CONFLICT IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES Kaitlyn Bock New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT Gray Wolf ( Canis lupus ; Linnaeus, 1758) conservation in North America is at a crossroads. reintroduced into the Yellowstone ecosystem after a 70 year absence. However, ranching interests and years of accumulated cultural hatred keep wolf recovery from prog ressing. This thes is explores the ecological and cultural impetus for gray wolf preservation. The history, conservation, and cultural legacy of Canis lupus are analyzed to investigate the ways human preferences influence wildlife management and to further understand the bal ance between meeting human needs and conserving biodiversity. Dr. Erin Dean, PhD Division of Social Sciences
1 Introduction The Bella Coola Indians of British Columbia believed that someone once tried to owever, something went wrong with the incantation and they succeeded in making human o nly the eyes of the wolf (Lopez 1978). It is no secret that wolves exert a powerful influence on the human imagination. Their stare is sharp and penetrating, their howl long and haunting. It stirs a fascination in the human psyche But every time it is a perception, shaped by the myriad of cultu ral and biological factors inherent in our society and instilled in our Thi s is true with wolves. Even a basic understanding of wolf and human interactions in history reveals the complexities of this inter species connection In the span of a few hundred years, wolves have gone from despised to persecuted and executed, and then later to revi talized, reintroduced, respected, and even worshipped. To better understand this rollercoaster relationship, it is helpful to have an understanding of their ecological and social role as a charismatic megafauna and a carnivore. s the term commonly used to describe large animal species that have widespread popular appeal. These species are classically defined as mammalian and endangered or threatened species. Other animals that fall under this category include grizzly bears, pol ar bears, great apes, cetaceans, and big cats. It is no coincidence that many of these animals are carnivores or meat eaters As other predators, carnivores compete with humans for the top position i n the food chain. The power
2 relationship between ourse lves and them is inherent and has fostered both a fear and Homo sapiens has been sapient alpha predators have kept us acutely aware of our membership within the Redford 2005 : 5 ). visual aesthetic, wolves represent a sort of feral charisma that seems to generate equal fascination amon gst the general public (Lorimer 2006). However there are downfalls to this aesthetic in that wolves naturally incite fear. Several species have suffered similarly such as tigers and sharks. Their undeniable strength as a top predator is at times interpreted as a challenge to dominate them. From the early U.S. settlements up until today, humans take great pride in overtaking a large beast like a wolf. Sport hunting is glorified and possession of a wolf pelt is still regarded as highly desirable amongst many charisma is an essentially subjective trait. The practical and emotional effects of these species differ between cultures and change throughout time (Lorimer 2006). Humans will always understand wolves in t he context of their own situations (Lopez 1978). While many individuals think of wolves as a biologically important species, others only understand them as a nuisance. They are threatening to rural communities. Domestic livestock are an easy target for h ungry canids and thus wolf existence is an economic burden for livestock owners. On the other hand, humans have made wolves their primary target for hundreds of years, waging an extermination campaign that nearly wiped out the species.
3 s relationship with wolves is as multidimensional as it is troubled. Like any human wildlife conflict, this relationship ignites a wide variety of views that call upon both scientific and social discourses. Scientific discourse is frequently dominant whe n referring to wolves on the assumption that ecology, ethology, biology, and allied disciplines offer primary knowledge on the matter ( Lynn 2010 ). However, social dialogue provides an equally rich perspective that helps frame our understanding of wolves p lace in human societies. Cultural attitudes and beliefs have a large part in determining the use and management of biological resources. Thus, both dialogues are needed elements in the conversation about wolf protection. So to examine wolf conservation, it is imperative to examine a multitude of perceptions. The study of wolves is an interdisciplinary one. With this thesis, I attempt to account for that by incorporating biological, historical, cultural, and political perspectives. I will also be inco rporating experiential research I undertook to better understand these complexities and also to offer a personal perspective to my thesis. My first chapter incorporates the biological explanations for what wolves are and how wolves act. While this thesis does not explore wolf biology in great depth, this chapter offers a foundation in our understanding of wolves. It creates the framework for which we can examine the other elements of wolf interpretations, while also clarifying misinformation. In my seco nd chapter, I explain the historical relationship between wolves and humans in the United States. Wolf history does not always present a pleasant picture but it is essential in learning how to live with wolves because it provides a background for the huma n and carnivore conflict. My third chapter is an extension of the 2 nd in that it
4 speaks to the cultural influences that shaped that history and continue to shape our relationship with them. In my last two chapters, I bring contemporary wolf stories to t he forefront. Through both modern conservation stories, and my personal research with the wolves, I attempt to highlight the multi dimensional and precarious connection with wildlife we a fight to resolve. The stories do not offer all the solutions but they do offer an interdisciplinary portrayal of the human wolf relation that once was and still struggles to be.
5 Chapter One l Biology The natural sciences evaluate wolves in a number of different contexts. Their evolutionary bi ology, their position in the food chain, their relationship with the natural environment, and their management and conservation are all ways in which science seeks to understand the wolf. While, this is not a definitive list, it provides a brief illustrat ion of the number of frameworks used to study this animal. These fields of study are invaluable to our knowledge about wolves and have provided information about wolf behavior, migration patterns, degree of intelligence, and shed light on their vital role as ambassadors of biodiversity. Such information is not only indispensible for ecological fields of study but is also greatly influential in shaping th y wolf. Taxonomy Gray wolves are the largest wild member of the dog family in North America. They are also known colloquially as the Common wolf, the Buffalo wolf, the Timb er wolf, and the lone Wolf. Gra y wolves are of the taxonomic family Canidae Members of this family are characteri zed as carnivores with 42 teeth that wal k s on their toes (digitigrades) and have long tails. Scientists recognize several subspecies of the Gray wolf including the Mexican gray wolf ( Canis lupus baileyi ) found currently in southeastern Arizona and the Great Plains wolf ( Canis lupus nubilus ), fo und primarily in
6 Canada (Defenders of Wildlife 2011). Wolves also readily hybridize with domestic dogs in both the wild and in captivity. However, hybrids do not appear to persist in the wild. There is significant controversy over the taxonomic identifi cation of wolves, particularly because taxonomy regularly plays a critical role in whether an animal is protected as an endangered species. The conse quences for conservation are substantial. There is scientific controversy over whether a particular popul ation is identifiably distinct from another species, or whether a full specie s or a subspecies exists (Nowak 2008). Most biologists agree that there are only two full species of living wolves, Canis lupus and Canis rufus ( Audubon & Bachman, 1851), the red wolf However, there is ample zoological debate over subspecies of Gray wolf recognizing a few to dozens of different populations. The assessment of the red wolf as a full species has proven to be a controversial and some sci entists claim the animal t o be subspecies of the gray wolf, or a subspecies of the coyote (Nowak 2008). Despite the arguments, there is no con fusion that genetically pure red wolves are critically endangered. 1 Once ranging throughout the southeastern U.S., from Pennsylvania to Flo rida to Texas, it now survives only in captivity and as an introduced population in North Carolina ( Fish and Wildlife Service 2011). As of 2011, the gray wolf was delisted from its federal endangered species protection This action affected wolf populati ons in Idaho, Montana, parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah. Wyoming is currently in the process of delisting their population of grey wolves. Wolves in the Western Great Lakes are currently classified as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species A ct but are also in the process of being delisted (Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources 2011). Outside of North America, it is listed on 1 The red wolf is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and as Endan gered, with special regulations in designated areas by the Endangered Species List (ESA).
7 Cites Appendix II, except for India, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Nepal where it is listed on Cites Appendix I (CITES) 2 Evo lution The gray wolf has been around for a great deal of time. The species evolved in Asia and traveled into North America several hundred thousand years ago. Among all living mammals, only humans and lions ever achieved more widespread natural distribu tion t han did the gray wolf (Urbigkit 2008). According to fossil records, the genus Canis evolved from a fox like ancestor existing in Eurasia in the early to middle Pliocene (Wayne et al. 1995). Several wolf like species originated from this common carn ivorous ancestor. Canis lupus appeared about 1 million years ago, during the Pleistocene Period. The dire wolf, Canis diris was an early descendant of Canis lupus It migrated to North America around 750,000 years ago and coexisted with the gray wolf f or about 400,000 years. As prey began to vanish due to climate change, the dire wolf became extinct 7,000 years ago. Around 1 2 million years ago, North America was inhabited by a common canid ancestor. According to Wayne et al. (2000), the species lik ely migrated via the Bering Strait. Some of the animals had already diverged into the gray wolf while th e remaining individuals evolved in North America into the coyote ( Canis latrans ), a smaller cousin of the gray wolf who adapted to hunting smaller pre y in the arid southwest. The red wolf evolved at a similar time and adapted to preying on white tailed deer in the Eastern 2 Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES listed animals and plants. They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species, except for scientific research. Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled.
8 deciduous forest. Gray wolves spread over the remaining wilderness, adapting to preying on the large ungulates that inhabited much of the western United States and Canada. Wolf remains dating back thousands of years have been discovered in archaeological and paleontological sites throughout the Northern Rocky Mountains and Yellowstone National Park. Kenneth Cannon of the National Archeological Center found least 14 sites that have produced gray wolf remains, indicating the prehistoric presence of gray wolves in the northern Rockies. The oldest remains dated back more than 15,000 years (Urbigkit, 2008). Desc ription Powerfully built but slender and agile, the gray wolf is a formidable predator for its size. Externally, the wolf resembles a large domestic dog but has proportionally longer legs and larger feet. Its tail is also straight and does not bend upwa rds posteriorly as with many domes tic dogs (Defenders of Wildlife 2011). Like many mammals, it is quadruped with the front feet having 5 toes and the hind feet having four toes. At the shoulder, it stands at around 26 32 inches tall and maintains a lengt h of 4.5 6.5 ft from the nose to the tip of the tail. A full grown adult can weight anywhere from 50lbs to 130lbs. The males are naturally heavier an d taller than the females (Mech 1974). As a cursorial species, their bodies are adapted for long distan ce running. They hunt by chasing and rely on their endurance to out run their prey. Gray wolves have tremendous stamina, running an average of 30 miles a day and up to speeds of 40mph. They can, however, travel up to 12 5 miles a day and usually spend an average of 8 10 hours/day on the move (Lopez 1978). Wolves have highly acute hearing and sense of
9 smell. Their sense of smell is up to 100 times more sensitive than that of humans, making them well adept at finding food over a large range of land (Defen ders of Wildlife, 2011). The wolf has two coat layers, a soft light colored, dense undercoat and a top layer that is made of long coarse guard hairs which shed moisture and keep the under fur dry. This fur is much longer and darker for northern wolf pop ulations. Seasonally, the undercoat and some guard hairs will shed during late spring and grow back through fall and winter. Thick fur allows grey wolves to sleep comfortably in the open in temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero. In extreme cold, the wolf can also reduce footpads is maintained independently of the rest of the body; at just above the tissue freezing point, it can sustain contact with snow and ic e (Lopez 1978). Coloration of the pelage is highly variable. Typically, it serves as little indication of the geographic origin of the individuals except for arctic populations, which are predominately white. For most wolves, color ranges from gray, tan or brown, to black or white. Typically, a gray wolf is tan or cream colored mixed with brown, and the lower parts of the head and body are white. All black wolves are more common in the interior of western Canada and Alaska than throughout the US. Gra y wolf eye color is yellow, green, or brownish ( Mech 1974).
10 Figure 1 A gray wolf with white pelage. Photo taken by the author at Seacrest Wolf Preserve (2011). Growth Wolf pups are born in early spring in a den dug by their mot hers and family pack members. Their eyes are closed at birth and they are very dark a nd round in appearance (Packard 2003). With small and uncoordinated legs, they can do little more than crawl n at around two weeks of age and they are able to walk at three. About five weeks after birth, the pups become mobile enough to explore as far as the mouth of the den. At three months, they can travel away from the homesite, follow other adult pack wolve s or just explore the surrounding area. Pups will grow very rapidly, reaching full size at one year. They stay with their parents during their first year of life while they learn to hunt. By two years of age they are able to mate and will either remain with the pack or spend periods of time on their own. Frequently, they will return to spend their second winter with the pack. However,
11 after that winter, the young wolves will leave the pack to find other mates and territories of their own. Not all pu ps will survive their first year. Biologists have determined that only one or two of every five pups live past the first 10 months. Only about half of those will live long enough to reach sexual maturity and leave the pack. On the other hand, adult wolv es have fairly high survival rates ( Personal contact, Seacrest Wolf Preserve ). In the wild, gray wolves will live until around 9 years of age. They have been known to live up to 13 years in the wild and 16 years in captivity (Mech 1970). Natural causes f or wolf deaths include cancer, roundworms, tapeworms, ticks, rabies, and distemper (Lopez 1978). Geographical Range and Habitat As the most widely distributed of all land mammals, the gray wolf is also one of the most adaptable (Chadwick 2010) Before i t was hunted to close extinction, it inhabited all of the vegetation types of North America and preyed on all the large mammals living there, as well as other animals in the environment ( Chadwick 1998; Mech & Boitani 2003). The environments occupied by wo lves include tundra, forests, prairies, desert land, mountains and swamps. Furthermore, its cousin, the coyote, has learned to navigate urban spaces. Though these habitats are natural homes for the gray wolf, the species has a less extensive range than i t did in previous times. They were once common throughout all of the North America but now occupy only Canada and the following portions of the United States: Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana,
12 Wisconsin, and Wyoming (Defenders of Wildlife, 2011 ). Figures 1 and 2 display the historic and current range of the gray wolf in the contiguous United States. Figure 2 Image provided by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 2011. Figure 3 Image provided b y U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 2011.
13 Diet Wolves are carnivores that feed on most other mammals occupying their environment. Their diet consists mostly of muscle meat and fatty tissue. They prey primarily on large, hoofed mammals c alled ungulates (Mech & Boitani 2003). The white tailed deer, moose, caribou, bison, musk oxen, d all sheep, elk, and mountain goats are all examples of prime ungulate wolf prey. Other small mammals that are routinely hunted include snowshoe hare beaver, geese, and mice (Mec h 1970 ; Lopez 1978). Additionally, wolves are scavengers, eating dead animals that have succumbed to starvation or disease. Figure 4 A gray wolf chasing a hare. Photo taken by David Mech retrieved from www.davemech.com Ungulates have several adaptations for protection against wolves. These include strong sense of smell, keen hearing, agility, speed, strong legs and sharp hooves. Adaptation s like these are adequate defenses and engender wolves to target the most
14 vulnerable prey the weak, sick, old, or very young individuals. By killing the inferior animals, the health of the prey population is increased. Surviving animals that reproduce a re most often healthier and better sui ted for their environment (Mech 1970). In this way, wolves fill an ecological role that checks and maintains a healthy prey population. By allowing natural selection processes, prey animals are more likely to become better adapted for survival. Wolves require at least 3.7 pounds of meat per day for good body functionality. However, they rarely eat that amount every day. Rather, they live a feast or famine lifestyle, consuming as much as 22 lbs of meat a day but cap able of fasting for months if necessary (Mech & Boitani, 2003). Wolf predation is also moderated by weather and seasona lity. It is highest during mid to late winter when the prey animals are weak and their speed and strength are hindered by snow. Predat ion peaks again during early summer when many species are giving birth and raising new young. In addition to eating meat, wolves will occasionally eat berries and fruit. Wolves also eat grass from time to time (Lopez, 1978). Behavior Much of what we know about wolf behavior has derived from research on captive wolves. This makes extrapolating information to wild wolves very risky (Packard, 2003). Captive animals do not engage in hunting activities, their social groups are sometimes forced, and they are constantly interfered with by humans seeking to establish certain levels of socialization. Furthermore, they lack exercise, as enclosures can never compensate for more than 100 square miles of wilderness routinely used by wolf packs.
15 Because captive wolves can never escape each other, their social displays are excessive when compared to wild wolves (Personal communication Yellowstone National Park ranger ). However, fieldwork has substantiated that a strong social matrix does exist in the wild. So cial Structure The basic social unit of a wolf population is the wolf pack. A pack usually contains 5 to 8 members but packs with up to 36 members have been reported (Rausch 1967 in Mech 1970). The pack functions as a family, usually consisting of a br eeding pair and their offspring. Offspring can include members of more than one litter. In a thriving population, a wolf pair produces pups annually. Because wolf pups reach adult size by winter, their presence may give the pack the appearance of an adu lt group. Furthermore, many young wolves will remain with their parents for more than one year; therefore, the group constantly appears to contain more than one pair of adults. Social behaviors are complex and packs rely on strong, affectionate ties that are fixed in pups during their first 5 months to hold the group together. Regardless of the length of maturity, all wolf pups eventually disperse from their natural pack (Mech & Boitani, 2003). Achieving Dominance Hierarchically, the mated pair are al pha. At 5 or 6 years old, they are the oldest, largest, strongest, and most dominant in the group. While the pack is led by the alpha
16 male, the alpha female makes many decisions (Lopez, 1978). Both dominate the other individuals in the social group. T here are a few ways wolves become alpha members. Typically, a young wolf opposite sex with which to mate. A wolf may also infiltrate another pack that is missing an alpha (Mech 1970) While this is the predominant structure of wolf packs, there is one mysterious exception to the rule. Strange wolves will sometimes join existing packs containi ng a mostly males and the adoptions take place from February through May. Biologists speculate why these wolves are allowed to join the pack whereas in so many other circumstances they would be chased off, attacked, or killed. One theory is that most adoptees are juveniles (between 1 and 3 years old) and wolf conflicts primarily occur between adults. Aggressiveness between wolves depends on rank, age, and residency status of the individuals. Therefore, a young wolf with no violent intentions is not usually challenged. Furthermore, adoptees only stay with a pack temporarily, leaving after a few months or even a few days (Mech & Boitani 2003). The social structure of a wolf pack is dynamic and subject to change during breeding season or other natural disturbances. Therefore, generalizations are misleading. Wolf packs, like individual wo lves, have personalities (Lopez 1978). Packs can contain very dominating or i rritable individuals that may make the pack more austere than another pack that perhaps contains younger, more playful members. For example,
17 Seacrest Wolf Preserve in Chipley, Florida boasts a pack of wolves whose alpha male 2011 ). This hierarchical positioning is exclusive to this pack and a clue to the varieties of pack structure observed in canid populations. Breeding Systems Like many wolf behaviors, most of our knowledge of wolf courtship has been provided by captive studies. Etholgists are able to observe mating rituals or breeding practices in great detail (Lopez, 1978). However, the phases of the wolf reproductive cycle have been recognized in the field. For example, courting pairs engage in reciprocal nuzzling, prancing, genital investigation, and scent marking (Pack ard 2003). Additionally, paired wolves will sleep closer to each other during mating time and generally walk in closer proximity th an at other times (Mec h & Knick 1978 in Packard 2003). Courtship between wolves may last a few days to a few months. Afterwards, they copulate during an estrus (the phase in which a female is receptive to copulation) of five to seven days. This receptive period occurs durin g winter, so that pups are born in spring after a gesta tion period of 61 64 days (Mech 1974). Pups are born early enough in spring so that their growing nutritional needs coincide with the birthing time of prey populations, providing wolf parents easy pre y to catch for their young. Another benefit to seasonal courtship is that the pups are born after the worst of winter and are almost full grown by t he time winter returns (Packard 2003).
18 While wolves copulate only in winter, new wolf pairs form at all t imes of the year (Mech unpublished data) and established pairs stay together year round. An act of tandem urination between the two conveys the same basic message as a wedding ring. Courtship between the mated pair is most common but can also occur betw een two lone wolves that pair during the mating season (Mech, 1974). However, wolves are generally monogamous and will usually mate for life. Communication Gray wolves are social animals that depend on cooperation, not conf lict, for their survival (Lope z 1978). Relationships between pack members or between packs is maintained and strengthened by three types of communication: vocalizations, visual displays and postural signaling; and scent marking. liar vocalizations in the animal kingdom. Its piercing echo can be heard up to 6 m iles in still arctic air (Lopez 1978). It is suggested that individual wolves may have their own d istinct howls (Theberge & Falls 1967 in Mech 1970). Although, when wolves howl together, they harmonize, creating the impression of more animals howling than are actually there (Lopez 1978). Contrary to popular opinion, wolves do not howl at the moon, but rather to each other and neighboring packs. Separated wolves of the sam e pack may howl to one another to determine their location for pack assembly. The likelihood of individual recognition would facilitate this function, allowing wolves to distinguish between packmates and strangers (Harrington & Asa 2003). Howling is also thought to play a role in spacing and territory advertisement between packs (Lopez, 1978). It is more likely
19 though, that inter pack howling functions as an avoidance mechanism rather than a territor ial mechanism (Harrington & Asa 2003). Another suppose d function of howling is the strengthening of social bonds or howling in celebration or camaraderie. While there is some observation from biologists like Durward Allen and Adolph Murie of this possibly occurring, no objective evidence of this exists with whic h to test this assertion (Lopez 1978; Harrington & Asa 2003). Other wolf vocalizations that are less well known but more pervasive among wolf groups include growls, barks, whines, and squeaks. These are short distance vocal signals that also incorp orate visual, tactile, and olfactory signaling, enabling a more comprehensive method of communication than long distance howling. With these vocalizations, wolves can convey subtle differences in mood and meaning. The functions of these so unds are extrem ely wide ranging; they are used for submission, asserting dominance, expressing friendliness and play. Wolves readily utilize postural signals to communicate with each other. This signaling is composed of facial expressions, tail positioning, lunging, c hasing, body slamming, piloerection, and ot her more subtle gestures (Lopez 1978). The two most easily decipherable postural expressions are those that indicate submission and aggression. Darwin (1872) felt that these were the two central motivational sta tes in animals. He posited that opposing emotional states are expressed with opposing physical signals. Thus we analyze wolf positioning within the spectrum of fear a nd aggression (Harrington & Asa 2003). When two wolves interact, one will greet the other with a display of dominance, while the other will show submission (Schenkel 1947 in Mech 1970). Self assertive
20 individuals are characterized by a stiff legged stance, erect and forward facing ears, slow and deliberate movements, and vertical tail. The dominant wolf may also display its teeth and maintain a high body posture. Submission is expressed by a hunched over stance, a lowering of the ears and tail, hiding of its teeth, and rolling on the ground exposing the stomach (Schenkel 1947 in Harring ton & Asa 2003). Along with auditory and visual communication, scent marking is a dominant means of expression. Wolves are highly reliant on odors to acquire information about the outside world, such as food or dangers. While vocal and visual gestures permit wolves to communicate information at the present moment, olfactory signaling provides wolves a span of time (Harrington & Asa 2003). Odors transmitted between wolves contain information on spec ies or individual identity, gender, age, breeding condition, social status, diet, territory, and emotional state. Scent marking is identified as urine or feces deposition on conspicuous objects along a trail, anal sac secretions, and scent rolling. Feces marking typically functions as a form of territory advertisement but could possibly mean other things. The roles of anal sac secretions are also thought to be varied, expressing anything from hierarchy to stress and fear. Urine marking is probably the b est understood modality of information exchange between wolves. Its function, most agree, is to communicate concerns and situations regarding spacing, environment, and territory (Harrington & Asa 2003).
21 The Reach of Science Understanding these biological fact s about wolves is invaluable to forming a holistic perspective of them. Science can set straight years of accumulated myths and stereotypes. Many wolf legends are based in misunderstood wolf behaviors but these behaviors no longer remain a mystery t o the scientific community. Whereas historical and cultural wolf identifications are fluid and open to interpretation, a biological perspective will always provide factual evidence needed to accurately explain wolves. still signific antly affected by physical and behavioral characteristics of non human species ( Kellert et al. 1996 ). However, utilizing a scientific lens alone is insufficient in capturing the complexities of human and wolf relations. For instance, it may address how a wolf may act or why it may act that way, but it cannot fully explain everything about wolves is and the significance of its cultural implications. It is necessary to step beyond natural sciences in order to grasp a fuller appreciation of n and how this informs our individual and collective agency to ward ). The next chapter is a historical investigation of wolf and human interactions in the U.S. It is also one of the most important perspectives, in that it tells the stor y of their demise. Unfortunately, it is not happy story and does not lead to a wonderful worldview, but it is invaluable in that it offers insight into how people in the past understood their natural world, and how they acte d on those perceptions (Coleman 2004).
22 Chapter Two History of the Human Wolf Conflict Colonial Period According to historians, wolf and human communities coexisted for thousands of years (Coleman, 2004). The species clashed occasionally but large scale hunts were unheard of. demographic expansion exploded. By the end of the century, British population doubled, througho ut the worl 2004: 8). This was particularly evident in the European conquest of North America. With colonization came an encroachment of foreign and opportunistic plants and animals onto the native lands. Settlement could not be successful with out the assistance of domestic animals, so the European colonists began raising stock. The first livestock arrived in Jam estown, Virginia in 1609 (Lopez 1978). Sheep, cattle, pig, and horses soon peppered the countryside. However, their arrival also mean t an arrival of novel, tempting prey to became a topic to capture community attention. Wolf control was suddenly a serious priority for colonists and a serious threat to further settlement. Thus, livestock establishment in the New World marked the beginning of the war against the wolf in the United States. The conflict started small; a few villages located on the eastern seaboard cried out against local carnivore pred ation. But in the years following, those actions would
23 multiply and eventually extend to include almost all of the United States. Early anti wolf sentiments and the corresponding extermination practices set the precedent for a centuries long battle to ex our emerging nation to pacify the land by any means necessary (Coleman 2004; Redford 2005). For years, bounties were employed as a means of controlling the wolf population in Europe. Althou gh a system very vulnerable to fraud, it was nevertheless popular with colonists as it offered them tangible evidence that pop ulations were decreasing (Lopez 1978). In 1630, just ten years after landing in the New World, Massachusetts Bay Colony employed the first bounty on the wolf. The price was one penny per wolf. In later laws, the colony paid bounties as high as 40 shillings (McIntyre 1995). A 1645 article of and m eans to destroy the wolves which are such ravenous cruel creatures, and [are] daily vexations to all the inhab 1995: 31). Other colonie s soon followed with their own Wolf M anagement Acts including laws that urged residents t o purchase and train hounds and mastiffs as wolf hunting dogs. Wolf hunts were also used to control and manipulate Native American communities. Colonization Laws encouraged local Native Americans to participate in the wolf hunts by offering wine and cor n as a reward for every wolf killed. Unlike for white settlers, cash reward not usually offered to Native tribes S ome towns went so far as to demand an annual quota of wolf kills to be handed in as tribute to the colonies without any reward For exampl e, a law passed in 1668 manufactured by the Colony of
24 New Plymouth provided a table listing the required number of wolf heads demanded from each local tribe in accordance with the numb er of available hunters (Figure 2.1 ). Bowmen or hunters Wolves heads Nanzemond county Nanzemond 45 9 Surrey Powchay icks Weyenoakes 30 15 6 3 Charles City County Men Heyricks Nottoways Appomattux 50 90 50 10 18 10 Henrico County Manachees Powhites 30 10 6 2 New Kent Pamunckies Chickahomonies Mattapanics Rapahanocks To tas Chees 50 60 20 30 40 10 12 4 6 8 Gloster Chiskoyackes 15 3 Rapahanock Portobaccoes Nanzcattico & Mattehique 60 50 12 10 Northumberland Wickacomico 70 14 Westmoreland Appomatux 10 2 Total 725 145 Figure 5 The quota for wolf heads for Native Tribes in the Colony of New Plymouth : 170 ). For frontiersmen, Native Americans, like wolves, were just another reminder of a wilderness needing to be conquered. Their immigration to the New World required a domestication of wild lands and the wild men
25 inhabiting those lands. Bounties were provided for Native Indians in order to 1859 in Goble 1992 : 103 ). Many newly arrived preachers adhered to this mindset, speaking to church goers about the similarities between the devil, wolves, and Native Am ericans. Consequently, natives were subjected to similar treatment as wolves, to the extent that they too were poisoned, slaughtered, imprisoned, and even hunted by mastiffs (Lopez, 1978; Goble 1992). According to one 3 Nevertheless, colonists needed Indians to kill wolves because their livestock often wandered beyond their property boundaries. In the text Vicious: Wolves and Men in America Jon Coleman writes that English settlers did not have a large body of human labor readily available. The meticulous herding practices employed for years in Europe were not ready to be implemented in the newly established colonies. Consequently, livestock supervision was a low priority. Domestic animals were constantly wandering away from farmlands and into swamps, invading cornfields, and escaping into nearby woods. Animal husbandry techniques like fencing and rotational grazing were not utilized until years later. Given these condit ions, it is no surprise that livestock were readily preyed upon by wolves. Their independent travels exposed them to a variety of New World predators eager for an easy meal. Though relations were uneasy, settlers needed the assistance of Native American s to thoroughly miti gate the wolf problem. It served as a means of control over local tribes. By helping kill wolves, they were in turn assisting the same colonization that in time would bring about their demise. Coleman explains that Indian tribes like the Algonquins 3 Letter from Soloman Stoddard to Joseph Dud ley (Oct ober 22, 1703), quoted in Goble 1992 :103
26 turned in wolf heads and black wolf skins as ceremonial gifts and agreed to kill wolves to build an alliance and partnership. However, the English interpreted the assistance as a sign of pacification and submission to their authority. In turn, the alliance was never successful and led to many conflicts between settlers and Natives. Predator eradication in New England furthered the separation and distrust growing between the two groups. Adding to the distrust was the fact that wolf bounti es were difficult to claim for Indians. They had to prove their honesty to a group of people who perceived them as deceitful. The Indians who did receive bounties used Englishmen they knew as reference s for their legitimacy (Coleman 2004). However, the bounty system was wrought with corruption. English hunters frequently abused the bounty laws. Legislation would demand that wolf heads be presented for bounty but many hunters would turn the same head in at several towns, collecting several rewards for o ne kill (McIntyre 1995). Hunters sometimes presented dog puppies in place of wolf young for bounties. It was also difficult to verify where the wolf was killed. Wolves that never visited town, lived deep in the woods and only fed on deer and other nativ e prey were still susceptible to hunting. The extent of predation by wolves on sheep and other stock recorded by Euro American colonists is considered by modern day historians to be probably inaccurate for several reasons Predation by feral dogs occurr ed very frequently but dogs were not prosecuted like the wolf. This was because the wolf, and not the dog, was undomesticated and uncontrollable. Wolves were perceived as the evil counter parts to their tracks and if canine prints appeared near any dead animal, wolves were immediately to blame. Also, i f a sheep died
27 of natural causes, and its carcass was scavenged by dogs, it was often reported as a wolf kill. Wolves continued to be bountied and blamed long after their threat to livestock had ceased (Lopez 1978). Predation on farm animals did happen but the number of livestock kills committed by wolves was not so high as to warrant their complete annihilation. However, that was the goal of col onists. The reason might be attributed to the public regard for private property. Europeans settling the land believed in their right to private was that the wolf killing gave farmers a sense of control over nature. A livestock owner might lose his herds or flocks to disease. Drought or severe winters might decimat e his stock, but the se were not easily preventable factors (Urbigkit 2008). Predators, however, offered a rare chance to seize control and mastery over the fate of their livelihoods. Consequently, wolf extermination advanced as colonies became more established across more l and. In Pennsylvania started a predator control program that required employees to hunt wolves at least three days each week and William Penn impressed the public when he hired a professional wolf hunter for his property in 1705 (McIntrye 1995; Goble 1992). In the E ast coast. Wolfers and Western Expansion During the early colon ial period, wolf pelts had little economic worth. Beaver pelt was highly valuable and the preferred choice of hat for aristocratic Europeans.
28 However, changing fashions and the near extermination of beaver populations caused a crash in the beaver trappin g industry. Beaver trappers, out of a job, were quickly absorbed into the growing wolf trapping industry. The demand for wolf pelts steadily and wolfers could earn a substantial living by trapping wolves. The era of the slaughter of wolves in world history (McIntyre, 1995). James Josiah Webb in his memoir Adventures in the Santa Fe Trade: 1844 1947 (1995 ed.) gives an account of an early wolfing: In winter th eir business was to kill wolves for the skins. They would kill a buffalo and cut the meat in small pieces and scatter it about in all directions a half a mile square, cutting a slit in the middle and opening it and putting a quantity of well baited, they would put out the poisoned meat. One morning after putting out the poison, they picked up sixty four wo lves, and none of them over a mile and a dollars. The operation Webb writes about became common practice for wolf hunters. Baiting and poisoning were simple tactics to kill s everal wolves while still maintaining the quality of the pelt. Strychnine was the primary poison choice. Both effective and inexpensive, it provided an easy substitute for traps that were more conspicuous. The effects of strychnine poisoning on its vict ims include excessive salivation, tremors, convulsions, and paralysis of the r espiratory muscles (Mech et al. 2003). As the passage explains, the method usually involved shooting several buffalo, saturating one to three bottles of poison with their blood and intestines, hiding the poison deep in the carcasses and laying out the bodies a few miles apart from each other. 4 Many types of animals were used for 4 Joseph Henry Taylor in his autobiography Twenty Years of the Trap Line (1891) quoted in McIntrye 1995.
29 bait, including songbirds and rabbits, but buffalo were the most common. Not only were thousands of buffalo killed in the process of wolf hunting, but several other species were indirectly affected by poisoning tactics. Poisoned wolves in their dying fits would drool onto the ground, infecting the grass beneath them. The poison in the soil and grass h ad wide reaching affects, causing ungulate death months and even years aft er the initial baiting (Coleman 2004). Horses, antelopes, buffalo, and elk were all inadvertently killed by strychnine. Many carnivorous species also died in poisoning operations a fter scavenging on the leftovers. Bears, cougars, vultures, foxes, crows, ravens, eagles and domestic dogs represent just a few of the hundreds of species affected by the torturous As the pelt trade expanded, Euro Am ericans relished in the extensive war they were winning and profiting from against the wolf. Tactics used to slaughter the animals included ruthless, cruel acts of torture. Many writings from this time describe in detail gruesome and bloody acts of viole nce committed against the wolf. Poisoning was common, as w as hunting with dogs and rifles and capturing by leg traps and then leaving the wolf to starve. They were set on fire, clubbed, brutalized with knives, dragged behind horses until their bodies tore to pieces, pulled apart with ropes, their jaws were torn out and sometimes they were captured alive only to be released with their mouths or penises wired shut a technique that was popular with trappers who collected wolf urine as bait. Slaughtering was not limited to adult wolves either. Puppies were killed just as frequently, often whil e they were still in their den (Coleman 2 004; Lopez 1978; Urbigkit 2008). Naturalist John James Audubon (1785 1851) was witness to some these events and mentioned them in his writing. One story from his publication Ornithological
30 Biography describes a livestock owner who baited a family of wolves into falling in a pit trap he built (as quoted in Coleman 2004 : 1 2 ). On the morning Audobon was with him, he had three wol th e animals out of the trap with rope and set his dogs on them. Only the alpha female of skin from one of her tormentors before the farmer shot her. The other two wolve s Examples of cruelty towards wolves is prevalent in countless of wilderness writings from that time. Aldo Leopold, before becoming an advocate for wolves, was a hunter and participated in many wolf kills Mountain chance to kill old 1949 : 130 ). In the story, he and a group of companions ere Their reaction, immediate and instinctual, provides an insight into the mind o f the 19 th century wolf hunter and exposes how commonplace the blood sport had become. Although they were excellent predators, wolves struggled as Euro prey. Their role in the ecosystem as a top predator meant that evolution did not equip th em with the tools necessary to outsmart an enemy. They did not have the time nor the prior experience of outrunning predators. Never in history had they needed such a skill.
31 As the American frontier moved west, so did the ideas of Manifest Destiny. Th e economic expansion in the West was characterized by the change and destruction of 1978, 1992 : 184 ). Settlers cleared forests, drained swamplands, and fragmented habitat with and replaced the wildlife with domestic animals. One of the most drastic alterations that they accomplished was the decimation of the buffalo. Bison were the traditi onal prey for both Native Americans and wolves. Their hides were highly profitable and many Native tribes who lived across the plains relied on buffalo hunting as their main source of income. White settlers moving in realized the extent to which Native A mericans and wolves relied on the species as a main food source. Therefore, several people supported buffalo hunts because it cut off the f ood supply for both wolves and n atives. They hoped red with speckled cattle, and the festive cowboy, who follows the hunter as the second forerunner of advanced civilization 5 Accordingly, they did kill most of the buffalo. General Phil Sheridan and other military men encouraged buffalo slaughter as a m eans to oppress the Native tribes buffalo left (all found in the Yellowstone ecosystem) from the 30 60 million that originally walked the plains. With their main f ood source suddenly gone, starvation drove many Native people onto reservations. For wolves, loss of wild game forced packs to turn to livestock for survival. By the start of the 19 th century, most of the wolf population had been eliminated from every region in the temperate United States in which a human could grow a 5 John R. Cook, The Border and the Bu ffalo (1875) quoted by McIntyre 1995 : 81
32 transcendentalist at the time, was one of the first to contemplate the consequences of exterminated here, the cougar, panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, deer, the beaver, the turkey, etc., etc. I cannot but feel as I lived in a tamed, and, as it were, emasculated country (1856) eradicate the last ones, the Federal Government responded by passing a law in 1915 to Biological Survey formed a predator control unit paid for by a small appropriation from Congress and voluntary contributions from state governments and growers associations (Coleman 2004). As opposed to offering bounties to private individuals, this action embodied a fundamentally different perception of the proper role of government. When the government began employing people to hunt, killing wolves became another government service like po lice and fire protection (Goble 1992). However, at this point, wolves were hardly a threat to human communities anymore. Most had been wiped out hunters would go on to kill 24,132 wolves. Ironically, it was in this extermination that wolves finally found recog nition and popularity. The federal takeover of predator control started the beginning of a romanticism in which the wolf was favored and the cultural consensus of a whol e nation was rewritten (Coleman 2004). With hundreds of government employed trappers systematically wiping the landscape clean of wolves, very few were able to survive but some did manage. While most packs had been dismantled and slaughtered, there were a few remaining wolves who
33 quickly gained a reputation. Known for their hardiness, ferocity, and wits these wolf celebrities became recognized by name throughout their grazing range. Individuals like Wolf acquired his name by his habit of killing animals far in excess of what he needed. York Times 1925). He eventually was trapped and killed by a government hunter, who ffice wall. Competition between wolfers to find and slay these individuals was fierce. Another desperado, the Aguila Wolf caused an estimated $25,000 worth of damage. He gained a reputation for being causing considerable damage wherever he traveled. Eventually, he too lost his life to a government trapper. Other and their heroic stories preceded them. Trappers and livestock owners built their conceptions of these renegade wolves spread between ranchers, actual evidence of this was slim. They read their tracks, spotted their kil ls and extrapolated dramatic stories to explain these occurrences. The stories of these individuals led to widely popular folktales based on their life as wolf bandits. Ironically, the tales were mostly authored by the trappers themselves, individuals wh o killed or sought to kill the wolves and desired to make their actions more heroic There was an element of drama in each story that glorified the wolves. Their ability to devour property and still evade capture proved their resilience and intelligence as a species. Fearsome and cunning, their characteristics were boasted in the last wolf folktales and
34 marked them as a formidable enemy for trappers. So capable were wolves that the battle betwee York Times 1925). The stories portrayed the struggle between man and beast a s a war between two almost equally matched opponents. Though laden with sentiment and anthropomorphism, wolf folktales began shifting the way the society perc eived wolves by transforming the villains into victims. Perhaps the most famous of the renegade wolf stories was that of Lobo and Blanca, the King and Queen of Currumpaw. Written by Ernest Thompson Seton in his book Wild Animals I Have Known (1898), the tale follows Lobo and his packmates, an outlaw gang of renegade wolves that stalked the rangelands along the Currumpaw River in northern New Mexico. Having been deprived of their natural prey, the pack turned to poisoned carcasses were laid out to kill pack members, but the wolves removed the poisoned pieces, defecated on the tainted carcasses, and dug up all of the traps. A $1,000 bounty was raised for whoever could kill pson Seton, tempted by the challenge, set out gathered each baited piece and piled them together. Seton, not yet discouraged, laid out specialized traps and took considerable time to conceal them. Lobo, of course, discovered the traps and uncovered every one of them. A hunt that should have taken a few weeks stretched into months of failed attempts at capturing the King of Currumpaw. Lobo refused every bait, avoided every tr ap, and consistently outsmarted Seton. severed cattle head. When Seton returned to check his trap, Blanca was captured and
35 howling with Lobo by her side. Lobo watche d from a safe distance while Seton and his from her mouth, her eyes glazed, her l howls of Lobo for days afterwards, and recalled that it had "an unmistakable note of long, plaintive wail" (McIntrye 1995 : 226 ). Later, Seton staked her corpse to the ground and surrounded the body with approached the mighty predator, Lobo stood his ground despite his injuries. Seton was him. He brought his captive to camp where the wolf just sat quietly, his eyes gazing over the open plains. Set on brought him water and meat but Lobo did not acknowledge either. 2004 : 206 the mornin again. Seton was so profoundly moved by his experience with Lobo that afterwards, he refused to ever hunt a wolf again. He became an advocate for wolf conservation, writing and sharing his stories with the country. Seton later wrote that the wolf stories are tragic always has a tragic end th this in mind, wolves surely have their own rights to life and freedom. "Ever since Lobo", Seton wrote, "my sincerest wish has been to impress upon people that each of our native wild
36 creatures is in itself a precious heritage that we have no right to d estroy or put beyond the r each of our children" (McIntrye number of readers in their personal ethics toward animals. It exposed an ethical quandary to a nation at a conservation crossroads. With the war a gainst the wolf coming to an end and extinction almost attained, more and more individuals questioned whether this was the only solution. American s were beginning to come to terms with the message left in the wake of a species massacre, that wildness was disappearing as civilization was growing. As the century progressed, more people moved out of the countryside and into urban spaces. Consequently fewer and fewer individuals were becoming farmers. The country shifted from a nation of agriculturalists to a nation of urbanites. Urban Americans lost the experience of growing, and raising food and the wedge between civilization and wilderness grew larger. This had huge implications for the wolves. Wolf as predator, wolf as beast, and wolf as livestock de stroyer were concepts not fully understood by the urban populations. Their landscape was devoid of wildlife. After the establishment of Yellowstone National longer a thr eat to their lifestyle, nature became recreational and its inhabitants were rare and special. Urbanites viewed the wolf as a victim of industrialization. It was in this pacifie of the temperate U.S. (Coleman 2004 : 72 ). In 1944, Aldo Leopold penned an essay that would represent a major turning point in the evolution of American philosophy toward predators. Its message helped
37 launch a social movement that saved wolves from near extinction. It is, according to several historians, the most influential piece of writing ever published on wolves (Lopez 1978; McIntrye 1995). The previously mentioned A Sand County Almanac In the essay, Leopold recalls a day when he and his men came upon a pack of grown pups led by their mother, the alpha female. In seconds they were shooting at the pack with more excitement than accuracy. When their rifles had emptied, they saw that they had successfully shot the mother and a pup that was dragging its injured leg. As they the green fire die, [he] sensed that neither the wolf nor the mou ntain agreed with such a He continued on to explain the ecological consequences of carnivore omeone had given God a new pruning predators for the sake of safety meant an explosive deer population without a natural predator to regulate. Humans could not effectivel y fill those shoes as ungulate management decisions were often made arbitrarily and without consideration of ecosystem health. His essay offered an ecological impetus for wolf conservation that started the birth of the
38 ecological mentality that allowed society to understand the environmental complexities inherent in the natural system. public attitudes about wolves and the environment were changing significantly. The na tion recognized the need to conserve natural resources that had been so wastefully used and discarded. Consequently, this time saw powerful environmental protection laws enacted by the US Congress, including ones design ed to protect species (Urbigkit 2008 ). The Endangered Species Act (ESA) became a law in 1973. It declared that protecting endangered and threatened species was a national priority and that all agencies and departments of the government were obligated to honor this priority in their decisio n making. In June 1978, FWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) added the entire species, Canis lupus to its list of endangered wildlife. At this point, there were very few wolves remaining but some packs still lived in remote areas in the west and the in f orests of Minnesota. Canis lupus status in Minnesota (Urbigkit 2008). Government protection was a monumental moment in the history of wolf conservation. However, it did not bring the wolf populations back as expected. Wolves inhabited the western frontier but populations were incredibly small and sightings were reintroduction in 1995 that wolves were able to flourish once again in the Yellowstone ecosystem. However, t he transplanting of Canadian wolves onto American soil unleashed a flood of backlash. The action infuriated local ranchers and conservative politicians, but the ge neral public was supportive. Far from fading into oblivion, wolves
39 staged a successful comeback that set the precedent for future w ildlife recovery plans (Coleman 2004 ; Urbigkit 2008). However, their reintroduction and current occupation of public lands remains highly controversial. Wolves continue to flourish in a cultural environment that both loves and hates them. While this chapter considers the historic response of humans to wolves, the next chapter contextualizes that response within a belief sys tem by considering stories, myths, and other cultural interpretations about wolves.
40 Chapter Three Cultural Influences and Perceptions The Power of Myth Humans have destroyed predators of all kinds to safeguard their livestock interests but h ardly any predator control progra m achieved the geographic scope and economic and emotional scale as the war waged against wolves in the United States. that of other spe se 1978 : 139; C oleman 2004). The beast is a violent insatiable creature. It symbolizes a wildness is beast and essentially a scapegoat. They represented everything Colonists needed to kill Whether or not theriophobia is the cause, humans and wolves have a long intertwined hi story. However, wolf discrimination has often been out of proportion to the threat they actually posed to people and the violent actions taken against them seem unjustified. The reach of science can only go so far to explain the intricacies of wolf and h uman relations. The issue is undoubtedly multidimensional. Thus, the role they played and continue to play in the human psyche is vital to understanding our actions towards them.
41 When examining wolf conservation, it becomes clear that the wolf defined by biology is a different wolf than the one defined by culture. Humans have come to understand wolves through a variety of lenses; thus the animal exists in the eye of the beholder. There is a wolf that science can describe, but there is also the wolf th at exists in the human mind (Fritts et al. 2003). It is a cultural construction, influenced by myths, tales, and legends from our childhood and beyond. Deeply engrained in the collective conscience of the nation are a number of contradicting and extreme images: wolf as beast, as glutton, as coward, as spirit guide, as medicine animal and in more contemporary terms as wildlife ambassador, as endangered species, and as vi ctim of industrialization (Lynn 2010). It is an animal that represents what we want an d need wolves to be. Frequently, what people choose to believe about wolves has greater significance than the objective truth. Mythology can offer such a compelling perspective that biological facts become irrelevant. Consider the continued fear among some people of wolf attacks despite the extreme unluckiness of such an event or the perceptions of high livestock depredation when the actual numbers are significantly lower (Fritts et al. 2003). Most humans have opinions about canids that are culturally informed and it is these opinions that influence conservation decisions. Whether looking at the past, or affecting wolf survival. Consequently, the volume of irratio nal and misguided beliefs held by people is extremely troubling. Negative perceptions make it difficult to find a compromise between human interests and wildlife conservation. This was case with the Yellowstone reintroduction in 1995 and more recently, t he federal de listing of gray
42 wolves. In both events the conversation became more about what wolves symbolized than the biological certainties surrounding the animals themselves (Fritts et al. 2003). The wolf provokes diverse passions in people from all different backgrounds. Wolves have a special resonance in many human cultures (Lynn, 2010). They are controversial but captivating. Thus examining their social dialogue provides an ace in human societies. Early Settlers Early settlers to New England had little prior experience with wolves. Born decades after their extermination in Europe, most colonists had never seen, heard, or killed a wolf. However, they possessed a plethora of myths, tales, and cultural associations that helped form their opinions of the New World predators (Coleman, 2004). They brought these stories with them from Europe, where folklore was replete with negative wolf imagery. It was a projection that refle cted their history as herders and Biblical discourse was instrumental in building anti wolf sentiment amongst Europeans. It was also unmistakably pastoral filled w ith symbolism of shepherds, sheep, and menacing predators. In the Bible w in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and destroy souls, to ( New Revised Standard Version ). In the book of Genesis, Jacob
43 and it also meant c or rupting and despoiling (Coleman 2004). Their feeding habits were highlighted to the point of exaggeration. They were often explained as feeding on untouched. The b iblical wolf always killed in excess and always fed on rotted carion from past kills. In reality, as explained in Chapter 1, wolves live on a feast or famine lifestyle. When they make a kill, they will feed until full and then continue feeding on the sam e carcass for days afterwards, giving the appearance th at they eat rotting flesh (Mech 2004). Without proper scientific training, it is understandable that colonists misunderstood the behavior of wolves. Other perceptions about wolf behavior were equally misguided. Wolves do not howl at the moon, nor do they frequently attack humans (Lopez 1978). Creatures of the twilight hours, wolves were only ever seen at forces in th start of 1978 : 209 ). warned followers to be cautious of wolves, both the animal and the distrustful humans the colonists to watch out for people with wolf ish intentions li ke false prophets, sinners, and ties (Coleman 2004 : 42 against evil. In this case, evil
44 took the form of wolves, as they were consider 1978 : 240 ). Colonists, in contrast, viewed themselves as members of a spiritual flock and identified with the animals wolves hunted. Sheep we re idealized for their innocence and supremacy over the Devil and therefore, justified the violent action taken against them (Roosevelt in Goble 1992: 102) mission to cultivate and pacify the wild lands in this new Eden (Gob le 1992). Wilderness was defined a e something of the 1978). Genesis 1:28, the first commandment of God to man, stated that mankind should conquer the earth and have dominion over all living things (Nash, 1982). When spea continent was one continued dismal wilderness, the haunt of wolves and bears and more savage men. Now the forests are removed, the land covered with fields of corn, orchards bending with f Civilized man measured his progression and religious devotion by his subjugation of wilderness. Killing wolves became a symbolic act, a way to prove spiritual conviction and cleanse t he landscape of unholy inhabitants. Wilderness represented a chaos out of which man had to bring order. Uncultivated land was useless. It was considered an earthly realm where the evil forces of the world dwelled. Christians judged their work to be suc cessful only after they cleared away forests, cut down sacred groves where the
45 1982). There was another wilderness perception present in early colonial days. It was that of wilderness representing a holy retreat or sanctuary wild country serving as a place of refuge and religious purity. This idea was also rooted in religion. In the Exodus experience man sought wilderness to escape sinful society. The traditio n argued that fleeing into uninhabited country would allow one to obtain spiritual freedom. iving sought communion with wi ldlife in the countryside (Nash 1982; Lopez 1978). In this tradition followed a slew of romantic poets, artists, and writers who were inspired by the soul stirring qualities of nature. John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Moran, and Percy Bysshe Shelley were just a few of many prominent individuals who joined this school of thought. While a considerable number of anti wolf opinions were rooted in the Bible, there were other forms of propaganda that influenced early coloni al thought. The most unsuspecting sources came from childhood stories and fairytales. The wolf was a gullible, unintelligent, and morally corrupt was a projection of adult beliefs, adult fear s, and adult perversions (Lopez 1978). The wolf stories from Aesop are some of the most famous wolf stories, and people of all generations are familiar with the tales. Some of the fables include The Dog and The Wolf, The Wolf and the Mouse, and The Wol f and the 2007). In the first fable, Dog and Wolf meet after the Wolf had a long day of unsuccessful hunting.
46 The Dog explains to Wolf the benefits of ownership, such as safety from bad weather and the assurance of daily meals. The Wolf, te mpted by the ease of domestic life, considers conquered. Though the Dog explains that he is content with his predicament, the Wolf ultimately chooses freedom over happiness, a quality he clearly holds in higher esteem. The tale reinforces the concept that the Wolf is somehow the ultimate ambassador of wilderness. His rejection of domestication served as a metaphor for his deviance but also a testament to his strength. Howev er, other Aesop fables portray a more morally ambiguous wolf. In The Wolf and the Mouse, a wolf steels a sheep from a nearby farmer. In the morning he finds the remains of the sheep have been nibbled on by a mouse. When the startled mouse runs off with a Fable wolves, in that his greediness is his most telling characteristic. The Wolf and the Crane reads very similarly: One day a Wol f got a bone stuck in his throat. He was unable to dislodge it and so he went around asking for someone to pull it out. Finally a Crane offered help. Crane asked for a reward, The nature of the wolf is that of a constant predator. These motifs are echoed in other most wolf mythology, these are violent stories. And the violence committed against the
47 wolf is socially acceptable. Werewolf stories in Scandinavia served a similar function. Mythology and speculation was spread through generations of Europe ans, deeply imbedding an anti wolf perspective in the minds of millions of people. While there are other interpretations of wolves in literature, this seems to be the image Europeans and contemporary Americans are preoccupied with. T he tales of hedonisti c and ravenous wolves are the tales most memorable (Lopez 1978). In contrast held a very different image of wolf. Native Americans with wolves. While colonists fostered thoughts about a controlled, dominated landscape, native peoples had established a heritage of coexistence with the natural world (McIntrye, 1995). Wilderness was a concept Europeans brought with them in their immigration. It existed a s a foil to the manicured, highly constructed societies that colonial settlers inhabited. For Native Americans, these dichotomies did not exist. Nature was as much a part of the community as were residential spaces (Nash, 1992). The same was to be said of domestic animals and their wild counterparts. Whereas colonists were glorifying their sheep, native peoples were not drawing distinctions between species they interacted with. They had not conceptually cut themselves off from wild life like that of th e Europeans. For example, they still considered themselves as part of the animal kingdom. They were Though they did perceive differences between creatures, they were more preoccupied with the
48 similarities (Lopez, 1978). Native tribes saw themselves in the wolf and thus respected its place in the web of life. A famous Oneida folktale, told by Iroquio s oral historian between wolves and the Oneida tribe and the ways these species shared the land. Long, long ago our people grew in number. Soon there was no longer enough ro om for them to grow food and hunt. Many young men were sent out from among them, to seek a new place to live. They searched and they returned. Each o the people had decided and their minds were firm. They were ready to move. And then wolf brother returned. He asked about the new place. And when he heard about the place that was chosen, he said at once People closed their ears and would not reconsider. They played the drums and danced and asked the spirits for guidance. Why could they no longer live in har mony with the wolf? As time passed, the wolf wanted more. A hunter would leave deer or squirrel hung in a tree, only to return and find nothing hanging. Only wolf behind. At first this seemed fair. But wolf was growing bolder, coming into the village to look for food. So things became worse than before. They saw too that killing wolf would change the people. They would become wolf killers. A people who took life only to sustain their own would become a People who took life rather than move a little. It did not seem to them that they wanted to become such a people. At last one of the elders, Grandfather, spoke what was in thers. Tell me now my And so it was that the People devised among themselves a way of asking each other questions whenever a decision was to be made on a New Place or a New Way. We sought to perceive the flow of energy thr ough each new possibility and how much was enough and how much was too much. Until at last someone would rise and ask the old, old question to remind us of things we do not yet see clearly enough to remember. "Tell me now my brothers. Tell me now my sist The human characters in the story chose to move their encampment in order to maintain peace between themselves and the wolf. They saw this as the preferred alternative to killing the wolv es (McIntrye 1995). that when making future decisions, were being considered. T he story ends on this question. It does not specify what needs
49 to be done or what the listener is supposed to le arn. Rather, it leaves it opened ended, so personal insight and reflection can grow. Many tribes were familiar with wolves and regarded them as spiritually powerful par ticular individuals or tribes. Some indigenous peoples believed that wearing the skin 2003 : 291 ). This was particularly true for tribes that primarily subsisted off hunting like the Pueblos, the Cree, and the Nunamiut. 6 Indians saw themselves in wolves and some tribes believed they had originated from wolves. The Kwakiutl of British Colombia believed their ancestors took off their wol f masks to become human (Bath 1998). Other groups like the Dine, believed wolves were witches in wolf clothing. This is a common theme amongst mythology, as is the blurring boundary between man and other top predators. Origin myths place humans descended from jaguars (Benson 1997 in Redford 2005) or sharing the same mother as tigers (Wessing 1986 in Redford 2005). The wolf was revered for its superior hunting skills and associated with the spirit power needed to become a successful hunter. Indigenous people who shared the land with wolves like the Nunamiut, mimicked wolf hunting styles to have better success catching caribou. Both wolves and Cree Indians in Alberta maneuvered buffalo out onto lake ice, where the ungulates lost their footing and were more easily killed. Pueblo Indians an d wolves in the desert in Arizona ran deer to exhaustion. Wolf and Shoshani Indians lay flat on the prairie gra ss of Wyoming and slowly waved their tail or for the 6 Native perception s of wolves varied largely depending on whether or not the nation was primarily agricultural. For hunting tribes, the wolf played a larger mythological role as the wolf was a great hunter and not a great farmer. Agricultural tribes tended to value gods of the harvest in high esteem (Lopez 1978).
50 Shoshani, a strip of hide to attract curious ante lope close enough to kill (Bath 1988; Lop ez 1978). And white tailed deer in Minnesota seemed to deal with humans and wolves in the same manner by moving into the border area between two warring clans or packs, where hunters were the least likely to show up. Many of the semi nomadic hunting soc ieties of the US watched and learned from the wolves to improve their hunting styles. The wolf became a symbol for fearless warrior. It was believed that wolves sometimes talked to people to warn them about the presence of enemies or to share valuable in formation about fighting. In Alaska, the Tanaina people believed wolves were brothers, and one only need to ask brother wolf for hel p in difficult times (Fritts et al. 2003). Beyond hunting and territorial issues, both groups were strongly familial and s ocial. The wolf was the one who took the role of the provider for the lar ger community of wildlife (Mech 2004; Lopez 1978). Native peoples were also highly communal and understood the responsibility of feeding family as well as others in the community. A after a kill, used to call coyotes, foxes, and other carrion eaters to the remains of his kill (Lopez, 1978). In contrast to European mythology, the wolf was never iden tified as selfish. Rather, as an animal keenly aware of his role in the larger ecosystem and his regarded and feared by settlers, does not exist (Coleman 2004, Fr itts et. al., 2003). The overwhelming narrative of Native American wolf folklore was one that reflected the symbiotic relationship between man, wolf, and forests. European folklore seemed less concerned with this bond, choosing only to focus on the dest ructive or
51 violent nature of the wolf. Colonists brought to America a fear and hatred based largely on Old World myth and this view prevailed during their eradication from US lands (Fritts, et. al. 2003). Native mythology has done little to influence th e European American mindset in its acceptance of the wolf. However, contemporary attitudes towards wolves demonstrate a change in the tides. Euro American v iews of the wolf began to change rapidly in the 20 th century. catalyst for this change, as were other Silent Spring was one of many books that laid the foundation for the new environmental movement. Further, t he passing of the Endangered Species Act transformed the villainous wolf into an unfortunate victim. The years following ushered in a new era of cultural significance for the wolf. Wolves gained fame and popularity amongst urban Americans who recognized the animal as a major Organizations and magazines began choosing the wolf as a logo or an image for their cover. With their long, tragic history of oppression, they served as excellent symbols to stimulate ecological a wareness (Cluclas et al., 2008) It was this change in the cultural landscape that dramatically altered public perception and thus management designs for wolves.
52 Chapter Four Reintroduction and Reacceptance Considering Reintroduction Perhaps one of the most controversial chapters in wolf history was the recent reintroduction of wolves into the Northen Rockies (Chadwick 2010) It started a national debate that continues to be a divisive topic today. More than just protecting existing populations, r e introduction called for a reinstatement of wolves. It was reclamation of land for a species that rightfully belongs there but to the thousands of local huma n occupants, it was an invasion of foreign inhabitants on property they saw as their own. Fol lowing the surge of environmental enthusiasm that swept the nation in the in the world, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. The Act, established by the Office o f Endangered Species, called for intensive programming to classify all threatened plants and animals worldwide, and to do all within the power of the US government to protect such species (Nowack 2008). Essentially, it promised that humans would no longer be legally allowed to bring about the extinction of a species. This was hardly met without controversy. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) backed by its political and commercial clientele, challenged the role of the Office of Endangered Species and claimed that they would be unable and unwilling to carry out the required protections efforts. What followed was a decade of internal struggle, repeated attempts to stop listing species, and schemes to des troy the listing branch (Nowack 2008). In 1987, the entire Office of Endangered Species was abolished. However, the endangered species program remained intact and has since been run by the USFWS and the National Marine Fisheries
53 Service (NMFS). 7 Their role as implementers and wildlife defenders continu es to be questioned and is the subject of considerable debate. Aside from the controversy, the passage of the ESA was a pivotal environmental human effects and interfer ences with the natural world grew and the public feared the imminent demise of North American wolves. In truth, tens of thousands of wolves still survived in Canada and Alaska, hundreds in Minnesota, and tens of thous ands in Eastern Europe (Bibikov 1975 i n Fritts et al. 2003). However, wolf populations in most of the lower 48 states had nearly disappeared. A population that was once several million had dropped to just a few hundred (Pate et. al., 1996). During this time several wolf conservation organiz ations were formed. Defenders of Furbearers, later known as Defenders of Wildlife, was originally created to protect furbearing animals from poisons and steel leg traps (DO W 2011 ). After the federal wolf listing, they became involved in wolf conservatio n and adopted the image of a howling wolf as their logo. National Wildlife Federation, the World Wildlife Fund, and Audubon Society also got involved with wolf conservation. Key among these organizations was the Wolf Speciali st Group, instituted by the I nternational Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently renamed the World Conservation Union. This group publishes status and conservation information about wolves and send resolutions promoting conservation actions to member countries as neede d. Their data provides the IUCN with the information needed to accurately classify the gray wolf. Wolf biologists L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani act as co chairs for the organization. With so many 7 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service; USFWS Endangered Species Program
54 organizations sprouting up, the inevitable conversation about wolf reintroduction began as the public tried to envision a life with wolves. Public Attitudes As more pro wolf groups started up, more Americans became involved in wolf protection. Privately owned colonies of captive wolves were established wi th the hope that they could one day be used for wild wolf reintroduction. Several people appointed wolf propaganda was widely disseminated (Fritts et al. 2003 : 295 ). Human attitudes towards wolves showed increasing sup port. This was particularly true among urban residents who felt distanced from most forms of wildlife and natural habitats. In all the surveys conducted after 1973 that gauge human attitudes towards wolves, people with the most positive attitudes have be en those with the least experience (Williams et al. 2002). Williams et. al. developed a quantitative summary of attitudes towards wolves and their reintroduction after analyzing 38 surveys conducted between 1972 and 2000. They found the surveys showed a m ajority of participants (51%) had positive attitudes and 60% supported wolf restoration. However, only 35% of ranchers and farmers surveyed conveyed positive attitudes towards wolves. Other surveys report up to 90% disapproval amongst agriculturists. Th is proved true regardless of experience (Buys 1975; Kellert 1985, 1986; Nelson and Franson 1988; Bath and Buchanan 1989 in Fritts et. al., 2003). More negative views are also found amongst older, less ed ucated, lower income people. However attitudes associated with age are likely d ue to a cohort effect (Williams et al. 2002).
55 The origins of those attitudes toward wolves ranged from ethical to economical. People favorable towards wolf restoration often cited the right of the wolf to exist, their vital role in the trophic level, and their recreational value. In contrast, unfavorable attitudes were justified by the expectation of livestock, pet and human attacks, cost of such loss, decimations of big game populations, and erosion of private property rights (Fritts, et al., 2003). Many protestors of wolf protection saw reintroduction as an encroachment of the federal government onto local territory. While the wolves would primarily occupy federal land, pe ople viewed that as tax payer land and thus the American tax payer had access and right over that land. The fear of increasing restrictions on the private use of federal land continues to plague the minds of livestock owners who still currently use Nation al Forest land for grazing (Personal communication with BFC). Often local and regional governments are pitted against the federal governments and typically favorable national perspectives (Fritts, et al., 2003). Controversy Most biologists supported the idea of reintroducing wolves into the Northern Rockies, particularly in the Yellowstone area. In the years since wolves were gone, loss of predators. 8 Biologists wer e keenly aware of the importance of a balanced, healthy ecosystem and were therefore thrilled at the idea of reintroduction. However in her book Yellowstone Wolves Cat Urbigkit offers a different theory on the credibility of gray wolf reintroduction in Ye llowstone. While Urbigkit is a livestock owner and not a scientist, 8 Interview with scientists Bill Ripple and Bob Beschta referenced in Lords of Nature (DVD).
56 her theory is partially backed by former FWS biologist Ronald M. Nowak. Her story illuminates a complicated power play between policy makers, scientists, environmentalists, and ranchers to mediate a solution that would allow wolves to reclaim lost lands. had been counting wolf sightings in western Wyoming. The evidence they collected led them to believe th at contrary to popular belief, there were wolf packs in the Yellowstone ecosystem during that time. Federal biologists with the FWS had been spearheading the gray wolf reintroduction plans. The plan was generally supported by the public because the assum ption was that there were no wolves in the area. Wolf packs present in Yellowstone, even small in number, would make reintroducing wolves unnecessary. Furthermore, Urbigkit claims the wolves present in Yellowstone at the time of her observations were rem nant populations of the subspecies Canis lupus irremotus. The subspecies was not only considered extinct but it was also considered one of the few true native wolf subspecies to the American west. However the plan for wolf reoccupation was in its final s tages; Canis lupus occidentalis a non native gray wolf sub species, was to be brought from Canada and released into the park. native wolves for mostly political reasons. FWS, with the help of Defenders of Wildlife, had pushed the reoccupation idea for years and garnered considerable support from across the nation. The reintroduction was to be the biggest experimental relocation of a large carnivore population ever undertaken and a huge fundraising opportunity for national environmental interests. If successful, it served as a grand gesture of the
57 protection laws probably influenced FWS actions as well. He explains that reoccupation allowed bureaucrats to take advantage of a and thus free from the usual ESA pro expanded naturally into Montana and seemed headed for Yellowstone. Since they were listed under the ESA, the invading wolves would have brought their classification with them if they started trouble. By introducing the against offending animals thereby satisfying the interests of both environmentalists and ranchers. Unfortunately, the Canadian sub species was a particularly impressive specimen. It was the largest sub species in the world and an aggressive competitor for territory. If introduced, the native irremotus natives can be dev astating for an ecosystem, destroying native animal and plant species and creating an imbalance in the web of life. Urbigkit and her husband felt that the native wolf was facing deliberate extinction. They filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the reintroduction. The litigation dragged for years and the release of the Canadian wolves went ahead. On December 12, 1997, a federal judge ruled that the reintroduction of wolves was illegal because wolves already existed in the area. However, the reintr oduction was already underway and soon a higher court overruled the previous decision, declaring that the Canadian wolves could stay. Legal disputes went on for years.
58 reintroduction, it does offer a compelling and unique angle to the Yellowstone wolf story. Her experience reimages the highly praised wolf return as an underhanded government action threatening the very species and ecosystems they claim to protect. Later in the book, Ur bigkit argues that the reestablished wolf populations have far exceeded their proposed numbers and are decimating elk populations and regularly hunting livestock. She argues for federal delisting and criticizes environmental groups like Defenders of Wildl ife for constantly interfering with actions to control wolf populations. She asserts, ponse to her request for money to document the occurrence of the native wolves reads: I am afraid Defenders of Wildlife does not share your concerns about the importance of the irretmotus subspecies. To be frank, we have not spoken to scientists who shar e this concern, either. Wolves are such wide ranging species that most scientists do not believe that many of the sub specific listings are well founded. At the same time, we wish you well in your effort to locate wolves. As you know, our efforts are ge ared directly toward seeing wolves restored to Yellowstone Park. even investigate the native sub species she believed existed. Determining what constitutes a specie s, subspecies, and a distinct population is critical in ESA classifications and implementing appropriate protections. To undermine or ignore taxonomic units is to disregard the scientific process. However, the quest for taxonomic truth is a long standing struggle in the scientific community. Yellowstone Wolves provides a piece of the multi faceted puzzle that was the Yellowstone wolf reintroduction. The decision was not made easily and there were
59 countless reasons locals did not support the program. However, national opinions favored a wolf reestablishment. In 1987, the USFWS completed the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan (Pate et. al., 1996). The Plan was created to reestablish populations of wolves in appropriate areas of Montana, Idaho and Yellowstone. Over a 32 month period, 130 public meetings were held, 750,000 informal documents distributed and over 170,000 comments were received from the public. FWS explained ncoming wolves as conflicts (Boitani, 2003). There was still concern that the wolves would scatter and not remain in the areas that were intended for them. Biologists e xpected many areas in Yellowstone to be too mountainous for the wolves, and predicted packs would travel out of the park into the neighboring valleys. 9 Despite this concern, wolves were successfully reintroduced to Yellowstone. In winter 1995, wolves we re captured in Alberta and British Colombia and brought to the 14 wolves in three small family packs were held in Yellowstone Park for several weeks before release. A year later, 17 wolves were released into Yellowstone and 20 into Idaho. after Aldo Leopold, who advocated so strongly for wolf conservation. The Canadian wolves successfull y established themselves in the Park. Reproduction began during the first year and the pace of population growth has exceeded expectations. At the end of 2010, at least 97 wolves (11 packs and 6 loners) occupied Yellowstone National Park and 1500 wolves o ccupy the North ern Rockies 9 Personal comm unication with Yellowstone National Park Ranger.
60 Change in Ecology The Yellowstone ecosystem was heavily impacted by the absence and subsequent reoccupation of wolves (Stolzenburg 2006) The clearest indicator was the explosion of elk and deer populations. For 70 years, bi ologists witnessed ungulate s dominating the Yellowstone landscape. They had no fear for there we re no predators to hunt them. aspen, willow, and c ottonwood trees were fed upon excessively. The heavy herbivory created what scientists Bill Ripple and Bob Meyer & Meyer 2009 ). Young trees were unable to grow past the feedin g level of elk. Consequently, aspen and c just after wolves disappeared ( Meyer & Meyer 2009 ). Willow trees often found by river banks were a popular food source for the elk. Bea ver rely almost exclusively on w illow for their nature constructions. When they were unable to find adequate material and food, their populations dropped. T he Lamar River, lined primarily by w illows was eroding from loss of leafy banks. Numerous species of amphibians and insects experienced die offs and population explosions as well. Biologists have questioned whether all of this is due to wolf disappeara nce or if there is some other biological explanation. However, scientists have been unable to find another reason. Neither weather patterns, disease, nor fire occurr ences seem responsible (Boitani 2003; Meyer & Meyer 20 09 ; Smith et al. 2003 ). Many of the questions biologists were asking were answered with the return of the wolf. After a 70 year absence, their return marked the beginning of a long awaited healing process. Top predators affect the health of an entire ecosystem and sustain rich communi ties of life that rely on them. When they returned, a land ravaged by deer and
61 elk experienced an immediate revival as wolves began curbing ungulate populations. Aspen trees returned to the Yellowstone landscape, and willow trees return to the riverbeds. Beaver colonies increased from one to a dozen which in turn, assisted the re growth of frogs, fish, and songbirds. Pronghorn also experienced resurgence in population as their primary predator, coyotes, had to compete with wolves for territory. Wolf k ills provided food for hundreds of scavenging and opportunistic species including eagles, magpies, coyotes, foxes, bears, crows, ravens, and ove r 57 varieties of beatles (Mech 2003 Smith et al. 2003 ). Despite the success of gray wolf revival, the wolf r ecovery program continues to experience its share of critics. Several organizations have started to advocate for decreased wolf protection. Individuals living in close proximity to wolf populations still experience the fear of wolf attacks or depredation Whether or not this is a likely event, they inhabit an ecological space shared with these predators and ultimately are the ones to experience the consequences of wildlife management actions. At the same time, millions of Americans who have never seen, heard, or experienced a wolf are tireless advocates for their protection. Urbanites, or those living in highly constructed environments are cut off from any natural fear of wolves. The American factory farming industry has led to an incredible disconnec t between people and their meat. Human predation has become so technical and abstract that meat consumers no longer feel emotionally connected to the beasts they consume (Coleman, 2004). A wolf preying on sheep or cattle is a concept that me ans nothing t o most Americans, w hereas livestock owners still maintain that natural and historic link between livestock owner and predator.
62 However, the gray wolf reintroduction is not the only story of the human wolf interaction. Another, less publicized reestabl ishment had taken place just before, and offers a different viewpoint to the ways wolves are adjusting to a human dominated landscape. The Red Wolf Story Years before the grey wolf was reintroduced in Yellowstone, the red wolf was reintroduced in small ar eas of its native lands. Structurally different than its northern cousin, USFWS considers red w olves a separate species (USFWS 2011). Their original range extended throughout the Southeast, from the Florida pine flats, north to the Ohio River Valley, and west to the plains of central Texas. After a federal extermination campaign that severely wounded their population, the last remaining red wolves inhabited marginal land in Louisiana and Texas. A captive breeding program in 1973 saved the red wolf from as a model for later gray wolf reintroduction. Furthermore it continues to provide legitimacy to endangered species recovery programs around the country. agine that wolves once inhabited lands in Florida. However naturalists writing in the 1700s spoke of wolf encounters and sightings during their southern travels. William Bartram in his book Travels wrote about personal experiences with Florida wolv es (Ba rtram 1791 in Phillips et al. 2003 : 272 ). Observing a company of wolves ( lupus niger ) under a few trees, about a quarter e trees we observed they had been feeding on the carcase of a horse. The wolves of Florida are larger than a dog, and are perfectly black, except the females, which have a white spot on the
63 breast; but they are not so large as the wolves of Canada and Pen nsylvania, which are of yellowish brown colour. Archaeological records also confirmed red wolf presence in Florida (Nowak, 2002). Subsequently, their ecological services and evolutionary tensions have also been absent from Florida ecosystems for nearly a century (Maehr et al. 2005). This no doubt has impacted wildlife activity (particularly for deer for whom predator behavior often influences habitat use and movement). Florida is not an isolated case. Red wolves were once present in many areas across t he southeast preying on primarily coypu, rabbit s, and rodents (Phillips et al. years of intensive predator control programs and loss of hab itat from human settlement (FWS 2011). Those that re mained survived in small pockets of Louisiana and Texas. For years they bred frequently with coyotes and suffered he avy parasite infection (Goldman 1944; Carley 1975; No wak 19 72, 1979 in Phillips and Parker 1988). Recovery classification in 1967 identified red wolves as species of concern but they did not receive priority attention until the passing of the ESA. That year a wolf captive breeding program was established at the Point Defiance Zoological Gardens in Washington (Phillips and Parker 1988). To supply animals to the program, the USFWS captured over 400 canids from Louisiana and Texas. Measurements, vocalization analyses, and cranial X rays were used to identify pure red wolves. Of the original 400 animals, only 14 were found to be true red wolves while the rest were coyote wolf hybrids. Those 14 became the breeding stock for the red wolf
64 captiv e breeding program (Phillips et al. 2003). The abundance of hybrids led scientists to conclude that red wolves were rar er than previously believed. The species was Captive breeding proved to be successful and talks of reintroduction quickly began. Land in western Tennessee and Kentucky were the first sites p icked for re establishment. However, strong opposition at the public hearings forced USFWS to reconsider potential areas. After the first failed proposal, USFWS chose the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina as the site for the rest oration project (Phillips and Parker, 1988). The coastal plains habitats were ideal for the wolves, supporting abundant prey and few coyotes. The area was also a peninsula, and sparsely inhabited by humans at the time of reintroduction. However, the pub lic was still apprehensive. In order to garner local support, the ESA determined that the introduction program would be considered a five year test project. If problems were to arise, the project could be terminated and wolv es removed (Phillips and Parke r 1988). To prevent conflicts, Congress also amended the ESA to allow reintroduced populations to be this legal designation allowed the USFWS to relax ESA restricti ons and potentially encourage cooperation from non supporters. demands. Many comments made during those meetings were integrated into the prop osed regulations (Parker et al. 1986 in Phillips et al. 2003). With pressure from sportsmen and county government, hunting and trapping were still permitted in the area.
65 unintentional, or did not result from negligent conduct, provided that the incident was personnel (Phillips et al. 2003: 275). It was also determined that wolves could be killed by citizens in defense of human life, but only USFWS or state conservatio n officers were authorized to interfere with depredation (of livestock or pets) prevention and reduction. In preparation for reintroduction, wolves were kept in acclimation pens for several months. For most of this period, human contact was extremely lim ited to readjust the or dog food to a strictly meat diet and at times given live prey to hone their predat ory skills (Phillips and Parker 1988). Before release, vaccinations and vitamins were administered and adult wolves were fitted with motion sensitive radio collars. Pups were implanted with abdomin al radio transmitters (Phillips et al 2003). The Return On September 14, 1987, one wolf pair was released. Deer carcasses were thrown near acclimation sites, food was thrown into the pens, and the gates were locked open so the wolves could come and go as they please. Following that first release, 63 wolves on 76 occasions from October 1987 through December 1994 were reintroduced. 10 For the first few months, all released wolves spent 12 24 hours near their acclimation sites before eventually exhibiting exploratory movements (Phillips and Pa rker 1988). Many of the adult wolves died in the wild without establishing a pack or raising pups. Vehicle collisions, malnutrition, and intra species aggression were the cause of most wolf deaths. 10 At times, released wolves were recaptured and then released again. Thus, the number of releases is greater than the number of released wolves.
66 Fortunately, some individuals were successful with iden tifying a home range, finding a mate and forming a pack. However, b etween 1987 and 1994, only 21% of the releases with known outcomes were successful (Phillips et al. 2003). From the outset of the restoration, intensive management practices were implemen ted to establish a healthy, breeding population and resolve human wolf conflicts. This often meant relocating individuals or returning the wolf to captivity. Conflicts with people were cause for most relocation incidences. Although the wolves rarely cau sed actual problems, their presence in residential and private lands frightened local landowners, who requested their removal. Other than people, wolves would occasionally fraternize with non native coyotes (USFWS 2011). They were rare in the area but t heir interactions with wolves jeopardized the genetic integrity of the red wolf species. In response, a plan was implemented in 1999 that called for the elimination of hybridization by euthanizing and sterilizing coyotes and hybrids (Kelly, 2000 in Phillip s et al., 2003). The goal was to promote the formation and management of healthy wolf breeding pairs. By 2002, results indicated that hybridization could be reduced by implementing the strict coyote control practices of the management plan. While the co yote control practices are feasible for ARNWR, there is little chance that this plan historic range are also home to coyotes. With such a small number of red wolves avail able for reintroduction, they would most likely mix with coyotes as they did previously. Interbreeding with coyotes continues to be a problem today and is recognized as a threat affecting the restoration of native wolves (Red Wolf Recovery Program, 2011).
67 Red Wolves Today The long term propagation program for the red wolf continues currently with more than 30 approved facilities participating the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan ( Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium 2010). Since the creation of the program, the population has steadily increased with 155 wolves in captive breeding. In the wild, the Red Wolf Recovery Program estimates 110 and 130 wolves living in North Carolina. As of 2011, only 82 were radio collared but non collared wolves are assumed to inhabi t the area as well. Currently the Red Wolf Recovery Area consists of 1.7 million acres in five counties in northeastern North Carolina. The area is 60% private land and 40% public land, containing three national wildlife refuges (Alligator River NWR, Poc osin Lakes NWR, and Mattamuskeet NWR) ( IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group, 2008) Red wolves are not found in significant numbers anywhere else outside of North Carolina. 11 The recovery of the red wolves is an integral part in the human wolf story as well as the human wildlife story. Wolf restoration positively affects not only the wolves involved, but also larger conservat ion issues, and other imperiled species. The program serves as an effective model for restoring other controversial endangered predators like the gray wolf, black footed ferrets, and African wild dogs (Phillips et al. 2003). Few mammalian reintroductions have ever been attempted, and far fewer carnivore reintroductions. But the wolf, with its high reproductive rate and long dispersal, has had a fairly good chance at re colonizing its native lands (Mech, 1995). 11 Red wolves have also been released in Tennessee, Missis sippi, South Carolina, and the Florida panhandle. However, these release areas are not large enough to support more than a few wolves at a time. Therefore, none of these release sites boast a significant red wolf population size.
68 Both gray wolf and red wolf reintroductions have seen fairly different outcomes as a result of their differing management practices. The red wolf case study is an example that there is no explicit formula for successful integration. In Yellowstone, wolf reoccupation was incredibly successful and wolves now occupy a space in the environmental and sociological sphere of the Northern Rockies. However, stiff regulations created tension between federal wildlife officials and local landowners who were given very little say in the reintroduction plannin g process. In North Carolina, recovery has been a quieter affair with smaller populations and frequent problems with hybridization. The program also flaunts lax regulations regarding species control. In 1995, local opposition pushed USFWS to modify the ir red wolf control rules. The revised rule required USFWS to remove wolves from private land at the request of the landowner. No legitimate cause or reason was needed, merely the presence of the wolf on private property. The rule also contained a provi sion that 2003). It has been argued that these regulations were excessively relaxed and are responsible for rampant hybridization among red wolves, as predator control efforts often disrupt wolf social ties. Whether or not it is responsible, local opposition certainly sways management decisions. Wildlife officials must constantly reconcile human demands with those of the animals. Interestingly, wildlife officials are not always the only individuals making decisions about species conservation. Politicians hold significant power over management plans, and their voice is often swayed by thei r constituents.
69 De listing of Northern Rockies Gray Wolf The Federal Government has attempted to de list gray wolves many times in the past, without success. In 2009, wolves were hastily removed from Endangered Species Act protections in Idaho and Mont ana, though they remained protected in Wyoming. After almost 20% of the population was killed by hunters Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation organizations brought a lawsuit against FWS. They won, with a federal judge overturning the previous de cision. Endangered Species Act protections were restored for wolves, and all fall hunts were canceled However, this action triggered a severe political backlash that continues to reverberate in the halls of Congress and the state legislatures to this da y. Perhaps this is why in April 2011 Congress attached a rider to a budget bill to again remove gray wolves from federal protection under the ESA in Idaho and Montana. The bill passed and three months later, Wyoming also delisted the gray wolf. In the April 2011 federal delisting, biologists and activists argued that de listing had no scientific basis but rather, was a political move to satisfy livestock owners (Personal contact, Defenders of Wildlife). To remove any species from ESA protection demands sound scientific process to justify delisting and guarantee that the species is self sustaining. However, biological evidence did not support delisting gray wolves despite cries from local ranchers that wolves were decimating livestock (Treves & Bruskott er 2011) While the details of wolf predation on livestock make for exciting news headlines, the data collected by wolf biologists over the past decade show a far less sensational story. Depredations do happen, but they account for far fewer deaths than other natural
70 causes. Table 1 illustrates the number of cattle kills made by wolves from 2003 to 2011 Depredations 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Cattle 34 75 54 123 55 41 20 22 13 She ep 7 18 27 38 16 26 195 33 15 Dogs 0 2 1 1 2 0 7 0 1 Goats 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Horses 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0* Wolves Controlled 18 29 41 44 63 46 31 33 7 A horse broke its leg and had to be euthanized after being chased by wolves in a pasture on private property Figure 6 Confirmed livestock depredations and control actions in WY from 2003 2011 However, an overwhelming majority of national livestock deaths are caused by harsh weather and health problems. In 2005, 42,000 cows and calves died. Only 4,000 were victims of predation (including all predators) and the remaining 38,000 were killed from digestive problems (7,700), respiratory disease (8,700), birthing problems (7,800), miscellaneous health issues (1 ,600), weather related causes (7,000), poisoning (1,500), and theft (600). Between Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, wolf attacks have and continue to represent 1 percent of all cattle and sheep losses in each state (USFWS, 2010). Livestock owners are not al one in their fear of over predation. Perceived competition between hunters and wolves is becoming increasingly controversial (Woodroffe et al., 2005). Since the recovery of Yellowstone wolves, elk populations have decreased significantly, dropping from 1 7,000 to 8,000 in 2004 (Vucetich, et. al, 2005). Hunters point to this as an indication that wolves are bad for the health and longevity of elk. While the population drop is significant, it is not entirely clear how much wolves are responsible. A 2005 s tudy conducted by John A. Vucetich, Daniel R
71 Stahler, and Yellowstone wolf biologist Douglas W Smith, indicates that human harvest and weather related problems are likely to have greatly impacted elk decline. In their paper, they asses the contribution of wolf predation on elk decline by building models based on elk population growth rate before reintroduction (1961 1995). These model predictions were projected on the basis of harvest and climate observed each year since wolf reintroduction. The differ ence between the predicted and observed trajectory of elk dynamics revealed the estimated contributions of wolf predation to declining elk populations. Their results found that a severe multi year drought and an increased average annual rate of harvest ac counted for much of the declining population. While the ungulate population was obviously impacted by carnivore reinstatement, it was far from detrimental or excessive. Biologists argued that any depredation was a healthy depredation (Meyer & Meyer 2009 ) Their reintroduction greatly benefited the wider ecosystem by lowering elk populations. As explained earlier, w illow, cottonwood, and other popular elk food were finally able to once again grow to full size. Besides predation, wolf habitation seemed t o also influence changing elk and deer behaviors. After releasing predators back into the Yellowstone environment, prey species changed their feeding and traveling patterns to avoid wolf interactions. Elk and deer became more wary and their level of herb ivory was greatly reduced. Some scientists believe this allowed for bison to repopulate by opening up more foliage for them (Ripple, et al. 2010). Either way, we know now that wolf depredation on elk has not been overly excessive. Scientific data does not justify a delisting on the basis of wolf predation.
72 carrying capacity. Currently t he Department of the Interior insists on a population size of around 300 for legitimate species recovery in the region. Today, there are more than 1,600 wolves (the exact number is not known) inhabiting the Northern Rockies. Biologists dedicated to wolf conservation, and working in the Yellowstone ecosystem argue that 2,000 to 3, 000 wolves is a more realistic recovery projection. With the recent delisting and only a 300 wolf game plan, 1,200 wolves could potentially be killed in the Wolves in the Public Eye In the flux of listing changes, the public aligned themselves at conservation extremes. In one corner were pro wolf, protectionist groups who primarily supported federal wolf management under the ESA and argued that state management could resul t in a second wolf eradication. At the other extreme were people and interest groups who considered wolves over populated and advocated for statewide hunting, trapping, and other forms of leth al control (Treves & Bruskotter 2011). While a substantial mid dle ground in public opinion exists, the disconnect created by the two extremes fuels a media operation that offers the public an exaggerated impre ssion of the problem (Mech 1995). For both sides of the issue, misconceptions are present and only exacerbat e either wolf protectionism or wolf hatred amongst people. Wolves have proven inevitably difficult to live with Because of this, an introduction of extreme wolf protectionism grew to counter the agricultural industry Animal right activists vilify loc al ranchers and government employees who claim wolves need control (Personal contact, Buffalo Field Campaign). Many times, misconceptions
73 fuel these ideas. L. David Mech writes about a few myths that he has come across in his years as a wolf biologist: W olves only prey on livestock when no natural prey is available; wolves socially limit their own population; loss of pack members causes endangered animal mean that there are hardly any wolves left anywhere; and that wolves are shy of humans and will relocate from areas of high human activity (1995). These myths and half truths are perpetuated by media campaigns and word of mouth and are a large part of the reason wolf control is resisted by much of the public. Stereotypes lead to a romanticization that can be equally harmful in its naivet. Urbanites have closer links to media and power centers, so pro wolf propaganda is more widely dispersed than anti wolf s entiments (Herbe lein & Ericsson 2011). The expansiveness and influence of pro [out there]. Many [people] feel that the decisions are made ahead of them by urban people without knowledg e about [thei & Knutson 2000 in Herbelein & Ericsson 2011: 1 ).
74 Chapter Five Meeting the Wolf But both urbanites and rural communities are greatly persuaded by their culture. Varying wolf sentiments, though possibly inaccurate, are not so much unfounded as they are culturally constructed by the louder voices in a community. Particularly influential are the ways that wolves are presented to the public by those that claim to know them best. Scientists, advocates, ranchers, anima l caretakers and federal wildlife officials all argue that their vision of the wolf, is the true vision. With so many claiming authority on the matter, it is no surprise that truth is difficult to navigate. It was this point of contention that led me to a small investigation of 3 groups that seemed influential in their discussion of the gray wolf. At each place I visited, I spoke to one or sometimes several people about their conception of the wolf, its place in society, and their opinions on preservati on of the controversial species. My visits took me first to a captive wolf center that prides itself on educating the truth about wolves; second, to a highly influential animal advocacy organization run by zoologists and lawyers who strive for adequate wo lf protection; and third to a radical buffalo advocacy coalition that led me to the national park that is at the heart of this debate. Each experience was enlightening in its diversity, and but also compelling in their commonalities. However, each experi ence was a primarily pro wolf interaction. I had difficulty finding a rancher or anti wolf advocate that would speak with me in depth about the wolves. So, further research is absolutely needed in order to incorporate a richer diversity of opinions.
75 Fur thermore, my researching style was slightly different in each circumstance. Because none of the experiences were exactly alike, I maintained a flexible interviewing method. At Seacrest Wolf Preserve, I joined in a 25 30 person interpretive tour and recor ded the most audible parts of the tour. Later, I spoke in a small group of 3 people with the preserve owner and had the opportunity to ask more personal, directed questions. At Defenders of Wildlife, I was able to conduct a one on one interview with the Florida Director. The interview lasted about one hour, off and on, and was recorded and later transcribed. My research in Yellowstone was my most unstructured experience. I camped for one month in Yellowstone National Park with other volunteers from the Buffalo Field Campaign. We tabled from nine to five every day and spoke to thousands of visitors and locals about buffalo. I took many opportunities to ask locals about their perspective on wolf conservation and took notes as they answered. Additionall y, I was able to speak in an unofficial manner with some park rangers about the Yellowstone wolf program. Together, my experiences provided me with a richer understanding of the wolf dilemma and a more solid knowledge base on which to form my opinions on. I intended that, with these experiences, I was able to accomplish that goal. Seacrest Wolf Preserve Captive breeding programs across the U.S. are instrumental i n reinstating thousands of species bordering on extinction. Most zoos manage captive breeding programs or contribute to other programs by encouraging copulation amongst their most
76 endangered residents to ensure a captive population that is large enough to be demographically stable and genetically healthy (National Zoo 2010 ). They also ensure viable gene pools and attempt to preserve the integrity of the species in the case of total wild extinction. In certain circumstances, captive animals are bred to b e reintroduced into the wild, like red wolves and black footed ferrets. However, many times, captive animal populations are bred and kept solely for educational purposes. Considered between the urbanized public and the non human inhabitants of the natural land. By allowing close interactions between the species, people can begin to foster an appreciation for the day plight. For controversial figures like wolves and other top carnivores, programs like these are particularly useful in dispelling myths and stigmas that interfere with their preservation as a species. There are several establishments and organizatio ns across the country that offer educational visitations with captive wolves. On a cool October weekend, I made the 6 hour drive north to visit one. Nestled deep in the Florida panhandle, near the tiny rural town of Chipley, several dozen gray wolves an d wolf dogs take residence at the largest wolf sanctuary in the Southeast, Seacrest Wolf Preserve. A certified 501c3 non profit, the organization boasts an impressive educational outreach program directed at fostering a greater respect for the wolf and gr small c onserv has grown into a sophisticated animal
77 sanctuary, housing over 30 wolves and several other small animals. All of the wolves at the preserve have either been born there or come from private owners, and other unsuitable captive environments. Many have a history of mistreatment and abuse. wolf handler (Personal contact, Cynthia Watkins ). This essential feature allows Seacrest to offer what most sanctuaries cannot: personal contact with the wolves. Visitors to the Preserve have the opportunity to go into the habitat enclosures and have a hands on interaction with the animals. For Cynthia Watkins, this is a vital part of the wolf educationa first time I ever touched a wolf, it w she explained to a group of people during a Saturday interpretive tour I attended at the Preserve. Cynthia was visiting Yellowstone during the reintroduction battle s, when she met what she describes and touched him and I felt his energy. I know what that kind of experience can do for someone The interpretive tours offered by Cynthia and her staff are incredibly hands on. During my visit, wolves were baited with hamburger meat to walk amongst the crowd so people could run their hands across their thick coat as they passed. Frequently, the clothing; in those moments I noticed their domestication and their dog like qualities. People took pictures and posed wide eyed be side them. Other than creating excitement, the attention did not seem to alter the behavior of any participating wolves. However, most wolves in the packs hung back to keep out of sight of the large crowds. The
78 enclosures, set within forested habitats, measure at around 2 acres each. Cynthia explained how each habitat was built around a spring fed creek or pond to provide a natural watering hole for the animals and also mimic the denning habi ts of wild wolves. As we wove our way through woods and rocks Cynthia described wolf biology, wolves are family. We could all learn life, their doting behavior towards their young, and their loyalty towards their pack highlight what many consider humanly qualities. Seacrest draws attention to these positive character traits in order to deemphasize the negative stigma surrounding them. Part of their lecture includes a When Kiowa, an alpha male, bared his teeth at Tahoe, a much younger subordinate female, Cynthia reminded the crowd that age is to be respected amongst wolves. Young wolves are taught social strata very early in their development and are quickly expected to recognize their position in the pack hierarchy. The Seacrest staff was very eager to explain verbal and non verbal gestures the w olves would make amongst each other. As an observer, witnessing the subtle interactions between individual pack members highlighted their complexity as a species. One of the most moving moments during the tour was when Cynthia introduced the crowd to a p ack of arctic wolves, led by a three legged all white male named Spirit. He lay opposite the crowd, across a wide pond, surrounded by his pack mates. As we a story which mate
79 was pursued by an aggressive wolf hybrid. Spirit protected Chenoa, and in the process was badly injured when his leg was pulled through a fence and mauled by the hybrid. An amputation and 3 month recovery process followed, and that left Chenoa alone in her enclosure, without her mate and without any confirmation that he was alive. Cynthia explained that during the time Spirit was in recovery, Chenoa howled for him every day. She refused food and spent the majority of her time curled up in a corner. When Spirit was finally fully recovered, they reunited the pair and witnessed a dramatic change in pha female of her pack. At the conclusion of her story, Cynthia instructed the crowd to engage in a group howl. After a few moments of hesitation and slight embarrassment, all the visitors of our group were howling together. And a few moments after tha t, the wolves joined in, first wolf hybrids and only coyote also contributed to the howl. For five minutes we stood howling together with the wolves. It was a simple yet lar gely symbolic moment. We stood as a group of humans attempting to communicate with wild creatures in the simplest, most straight forward way possible, their own howl. By sharing in the wolf howl, we stripped the haunting sound of its negative connotation and briefly unified ourselves with the wolves. Speaking with Cynthia after the tour, I was struck by some of her more personal motives for supporting wolf preservation. She explained how religious faith is extremely ves and provides her with an ethical basis that guides her in her attitudes towards non
80 explained While walking around the gift shop she asked me if I knew anyt hing about the Saints. When I responded that did not, wolves When a town was being threatened by a wolf, Saint Francis was able to communicate with that wolf so th e town and the wolf could live in harmony. So I As Chapter Three explains, Christian faith has historically been the driving force behind much of the anti contradiction to the stere otype. After the wolf encounter tour, I overheard several visitors expressing their amazement and satisfaction with their experience. Although captive breeding centers continue to be ethically controversial, there is no question that they often create po sitive memories that people can associate with wild animals. Many wolf advocates view these centers and their tours as the most compelling way to attract people to wolf conservation. nd ing in the human Defenders of Wildlife For modern urbanites, their image of wolves is the one that is largely represented by environmental organization s with national campaigns (Mech 2003). In the rise of wolf advocacy, no organization has had more of an impact than Defenders of Wildlife. Though staunchly pro wolf, Defenders has made an active attempt to bridge the gap between rural and urban communities by advocating for workable, realistic solutions that accommodates b oth parties but are still in the best interest of the wolves. Originally
81 called Defenders of Furbearers, they were founded in 1947 to defend coyotes and furred animals who were hunted with steel jawed leg traps and lethal poisons. Today, they are famous for their invol vement in the 1995 Yellowstone Reintroduction and as well as their compensation program for wolf related livestock losses. I traveled to their St. Petersburg office to get an inside pe rspective. There, I sat down with Laurie Macdonald, a zoologist and the Florida Director for Defenders of Wildlife. She worked for years as a wildlife consultant before joining Defenders in 1994 to help start their Habitat for Bears Campaign, a program t o protect the threatened Florida black bear. She now oversees Defenders wildlife, their habitats, and statewide ecological network. During our interview, we talked extensively about the strug gles that come with carnivore advocacy. In her work for panthers and black bears, she has experienced many afraid of them. You can give them statistics. You can s ssue. Essentially it is incumbent upon navigating the human wildlife interaction. As Laurie explained the human dimensions of wildlife conservation are possibly the greatest issue facing species protection today. for beginning the Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Compensation Trust in the Western United States In 1987, the organization
82 created a $100,000 fund to compensate ranchers in the Northern Rockies for verified livestock losses to wolves (Figure 7 ) If ranchers and livestock producers were able to verify that one of their stock had been killed by a wolf, Defenders of Wildlife agreed to pay them for their loss. The fund was expanded in 1995 to cover the S outhwestern US, where Mexican wolves were being reintroduc ed. It was further expanded in 2000 to $200,000 to additionally cover the states bordering the Rockies The objective was to provide a simple solution to any economic burdens created by wolf recovery. Laurie However, after 23 years of providing compensation, Defenders closed their program in 2010 to transition power to state run compensation programs. USFWS assisted this by providing $1 million in grants distributed amongst 10 states to support livestock co mpensation (USFWS Press Release 2010). Today, most states have established their own compensation programs.
83 Figure 7 Defenders of Wildlife, 2010 Compensation was just one type of program that helped to prevent human wildlife conflicts. It was one method of a larger co existence program designed by Defenders. After ending their compensation trust, Def enders focused on developing more on prevention and a me. These include providing volunteers to ride out on t he range during calving season s and providing funding for WOLF COMPENSATION TRUST SUMMARY BY YEAR 2009 $143,387* 59 Payments 81 Cattle, 213 Sheep, 5 Other 2008 $226,891* 131 Payments 195 Cattle, 238 Sheep, 22 Other 2007 $239,862 152 Payments 235 Cattle, 309 Sheep, 6 Other 2006 $181,765 101 Payments 195 Cattle, 205 Sheep, 8 Other 2005 $101,086 75 payments 102 Cattle, 83 Sheep, 6 Other 2004 $138,091 94 Payments 108 Cattle, 452 Sheep, 9 Other 2003 $63,145 53 Payments 5 2 Cattle, 210 Sheep, 14 Other 2002 $64,174 46 Payments 75 Cattle, 133 Sheep, 8 Other 2001 $53,297 34 Payments 67 Cattle, 149 Sheep, 2 Other 2000 $50,446 38 Payments 36 Cattle, 105 Sheep,13 Other 1999 $35,937 40 Payments 51 Cattle, 108 Sheep, 6 Other 1998 $17,483 17 Payments 27 Cattle, 13 Sheep, 5 Other 1997 $26,065 21 Payments 24 Cattle, 152 Sheep 1996 $7,483 9 Payments 8 Cattle, 49 Sheep 1995 $1,633 2 Payments 4 Cattle 1994 $5,701 8 Payments 12 Cattle 1993 0 0 0 1992 $374 1 Payment 1 Cattle 1991 $1,250 3 Payments 2 Cattle, 1 Sheep 1990 $4,100 3 Payments 8 Cattle 1989 $1,730 2 Payments 8 Cattle 1988 0 0 0 1987 $3,049 3 Payments 5 Cattle, 9 Sheep In 2008 and 2009, Defenders of Wildlife contributed two payments totaling $100,000 to the state of Montana for use in initiating a new state managed program to compensate livestock owners for losses of livestock due to wolf predation.
84 fencing, noise makers, and other wolf deterrents for ranchers. Defenders also produced the Livestock and Wolves, Guide to Nonlethal Tools and Methods to Reduce Conflicts (2008), a comprehensive guide to nonlethal wolf control m ethods. When asked if she felt that ranchers were receptive to the coexistence program, not tolerate, or do not want to tolerate wolves for a variety of reasons. There are [also] many that are supportive of these programs and there are many in an argument between liberals and conservatives. It is an unfortunate circumstance for a matter that [everyone] seeing this as a wildlife management issue for people to deal with together Attempting to overcome these biases has been difficult for the environmental group. Setbacks like the recent federal delisting exemplify ways that politic s has interfered with conservation planning. When I mentioned this in my interview with Laurie, she expressed similar opinions to those vocalized by many other biologists and ed the de listing of wolves out W states were not stepping up to the plate and administering conservation plans that would have been appropriate for this species that still is at risk. [The delisting] was bad for wolves and terrible for endangered specie s work. For those of us that are scientists and conservationists and activists, we believe those are scientific decisions, those are biologically based decisions. And what kind of conservation action we take after a listing that becomes more of a public policy issue mixed
85 Despite political setbacks to wolf recovery, Laurie made it very clear that Defenders is still fully dedicated to findin have a biological right to inhabit the space, and humans have a responsibility to learn how to share that space. Furthermore, protecting wolves protects several other species. image even serving as its official logo. But, with its protection clouded in controversy, I was still curious as to why the wolf has become a focal point for people who do not live with them ? Before I ended my interview with Laurie, I asked her why protecting the wolf and other large carnivores is important in her life. She answered wit h my values. I believe that they have an intrinsic, inherent right to live their lives. The awe inspiring beautiful way this earth has evolved, the diversity of it, is beyond our wildest imaginations. And wolves and other carnivores are a part of this wh ole, and they environmental ethics and shared stories about embracing wild animals and wild spaces into our lifestyles. As the interview came to a close she said to me t hat she hoped people Yellowstone & The Buffalo Field Campaign My final investigation into wolf conservation took me to West Yellowstone Montana where I spent a month volunteering with the Buffalo Field Campaign The campaign is a
86 grassroots coalition headed by native and non native environmentalists who work to raise awareness about the mismanagement of the Yellowstone buffalo as guided by the Interagency Bison Management Plan. The Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter and harassment of Yellowstone's wild buffalo. As a summer volunteer, I spent all of my time camping in Yellowstone National Park a nd tabling for the campaign, every day from nine to five. Tabling consisted of sitting in lawn chairs in front of Tower Falls (a waterfall and general store) at a table decorated with pamphlets, petitions, and literature The experience offered me the pe rfect opportunity to speak with a large number of people, both local and visiting, about their position on not only buffalo but also wolves. Many people we spoke to were incredibly supportive of our campaign. When asked about wolves, most people did not days. I explained to her that delisting did not necessarily mean recovery was completed. In fact, several biologists have sp oken out against delisting, including Yellowstone wolf biologist Doug Smith (Meyer & Meyer 2009 ) responded. I s poke with many people like that, t alking extensively about the listing and delisting, population sizes, an d what happened with the reintroduction. For most people, controversial wolf shootings from helicopters. But visitors were unaware of much more painful wolf control measur es, like leg traps.
87 There also seemed to be considerable amount of misinformation amongst locals I spoke with. Many hunters staunchly opposed wolf reintroduction because they were were introduced, it is not when humans do it. Furthermore, many local meaning. I found myself reminding people that wolves are nat urally occurring in the area and biologically designed to live here. A park ranger I spoke with on several occasions talked with me about the balanced out, a lot of t However he also mentioned some unexpected side wolves. All a big bear needs to do is walk over to a wolf kill, sit on it or stand by it and the wolves have been working twice as T his change in behavior might also be due to a fall bark pine which is currently being ravished by a pine beetle infestation. Since I was tabling for the buffalo, one of the most common responses I would again while tabling in Yellowstone. While buffalo are natural prey for wolves they are
8 8 not primary prey. The same park ranger from earlier informed me that only one pack in the Yellowstone ecosystem has been preying on t he buffalo, and they are the largest pack of all of them. Buffalo are difficult to kill and the pack has lost pack members in the process of hunting them. However, more troubling to me was the mindset that wo lves are bad for other wildlife and bad for the environment. It was puzzling to me that many locals I spoke with did not see wolves as a natural part of the environment. This was better explained later when I spoke with a man living in Gardiner, a Montana town situated at the North entrance of the here, in wolf territory, belong h ere, like they were just introduced, rather than being re introduced scien ce documentary Lords of Nature: Life in the Land of Great Predators it is discussed that this is the reasoning behind why people in Minnesota have a more positive attitude towards wolves. Wolves never left Minnesota; they never had to be reintroduced. Generations of ranchers grew up with wolves as a part of the landscape and raised the livestock accordingly. Using guard dogs and rotational grazing are popular ranching me thods in Minnesota where they have only just gotten popular in Montana in Wyoming. In fact, most ranchers in Montana take advantage of the cheap grazing allotments on public, National Forest Land. Livestock are being grazed on public land so interaction s between domestic and wild animals are inevitable. Not all of the locals I spoke with were against wolf occupation. Scott, a Gardiner local and fellow BFC volunteer expressed his appreciation of the wolves several times to
89 me. He enjoyed photography, and to him the wolves were just a part of the beautiful me one afternoon in his ki alf of the people hate the wolves and want them out of here, and the other half really love them. There are a lot of a couple people did say that to me while I was spending time in Gardiner. One local wolf supporter tol I might have not taken this concern seriously but after spending a few weeks in the area, I realized how polarizing wildlif e management was for people living there. times to count. reminded me of how political this was. Many times people did not want to have discus sion about it but one man did talk with me for awhile. He told me he lived nearby and he hated seeing wolves preying on the beautiful elk and deer. When I talked to I asked. Wolf prejudice seemed so deeply engrained in many people I spoke with. While most visitors and locals I met were pro wolf and pro buffalo, I am hesitant to make any blanket statement about the people I spoke with in Montana. I did travel there as part of a wildlife advocacy organization and I think that certainly aff ected how people talked with me and what they chose to say. However, my time in Montana was eye opening.
90 Rather than reading about the human wolf conflict, I had the opportunity to see it and speak with people who live it every day. I saw a wolf only o nce while I was out there. Early in the morning, by Slough Creek in the North East section of the park, I walked out to see a wolf just across the creek from me. It was still misty from an over night rain and the sun had not completely ri re if he saw me; as I stood there, and eventually a few stopped to take pictures. The visitors would step out of their vehicles, bring out their cameras, and try to get as close as possible without really leaving the side of the road. I stood there for a while, just watching this wolf from very far away. I hoped those visitors saw what I saw not just a roadside attraction but another animal part of this world, struggling to survive in a changed la ndscape
91 Conclusion In this thesis I focused on the human and wolf conflict, but what I explored is only part of a larger human fascinating because of their contrasting mentalities. Perv erse and inhumane actions are contrasted with almost hero worship. You can find wolf paraphernalia on almost anything today: on clothing, on logos, on cereal boxes, on magazine covers, on the news, in artwork, in movies, in novels, at zoos, and wildlife c are centers. Yet their contemporary media image cleverly conceals the extent of their wild plight. As with most charismatic megafauna, their over exposure perpetuates propaganda and other misleading information. Because our species is so cut off from th e natural world, human beings struggle to understand how and why we should live with wild animals. For livestock owners and ranchers, this struggle is more than an abstract concept; it is a day to day battle. At one point during my thesis research I c ame across an anti wolf website run by ranchers who live with Mexican wolves in the Southwest. The website staff had uploaded dozens of photos and videos from wolf attacks on their livestock. Hesitantly, I watched the videos and scrolled through the phot os. They were horrible displays of carnivore ferocity where everything from grown cattle, to newborn calves, to family dogs was mutilated It was a display of carnage unlike any I had ever seen. In retrospect, I am thankful I came across that website. I understood what it might feel like to be a rancher, and walk out to your stock in the morning, and see something like those photos presented. I understood that seeing a cattle slowly dying from massive tissue and blood loss is an incredibly difficult e xperience. I think it is probably traumatic for any owner of a domestic animal to witness wolf predation on one of your own.
92 death. Perhaps if as a species, we weren One of the m ost promising methods we have for coexisting with wolves is through non lethal ranching methods. The usage of multip le guard dogs, erecting barriers like fencing, fladry flags, and pens, and increasing human presence with range riders or herders have proven to be very effective methods to avoiding wolf conflicts. However, despite these tactics, there will still be chan ges in federal protection that threaten to wipe out the growing population, or at least bring it down to an unsustainable size. the future, these decisions will be left to the scientific community. The wolf still inspires passion s that keep them endangered as their numbers climb and keep them protected as their population drops. Their existence ignites controversies as they remain one of the few living reminders of t he legacies of colonization. To protect wolves is to protect a heritage. While protecting wolves may heal ecosystems, bring a balance back to the environment, and serve a tremendous ecological service, learning to live with wolves may also heal the huge chasm in our society and in our consciousness that keeps the human world separate from the nonhuman world.
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