May. 11th, 2017

osprey_archer: (nature)
“Enjoy” is not quite the right word for what I felt about Nate Blakeslee’s American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West. Or, rather, I did straightforwardly enjoy the chapters that were about the wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone, and the epic exciting pack dramas, and all the good ecological effects of that reintroduction: less coyotes, which meant more rodents, which meant more birds of prey; less elk, which meant more trees, which meant less erosion.

But I did not enjoy the chapters about the political ramifications of that reintroduction. It’s not that they were out of place or detracted from the book - they’re an important part of the story Blakeslee is telling - but reading about it just made me so angry. Blakeslee is doing his darndest to be fair, but nonetheless the basic blinkered selfishness of the opponents of wolf reintroduction comes through.

They are so concerned about the life stock losses the wolves will cause. Never mind that the winter causes many times that number of losses; they can’t legislate against the winter. Although they definitely would if they could, and damn the ecological effects. And they can’t bear the fact that they’re going to have competition for the elk now.

One little girl (little enough that she’s clearly been put up to it by her parents) pickets with a sign that reads “Will there be elk when I grow up?”, and, uh, yes, Virginia, there will be elk when you grow up. Unless of course humans kill them off, because we are the only species with a proven track record at that sort of thing, which is why the wolves needed to be reintroduced into their own natural habitat in the first place. The wolves and the elk coexisted for thousands of goddamn years before we slaughtered the wolves.

The hypocrisy of humans complaining about the destructiveness of any animal ever is completely breathtaking, given that we are the most destructive species on earth by several orders of magnitude. At least if we do stumble into an apocalypse and kill ourselves off, all the other animals will finally have a fighting chance - assuming of course that we don’t take them all down with us.

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