Thursday, September 30, 2010

Crying Wolf

Author Chip Ward has written a smart essay about wolves, the role they play in healthy ecosystems, the strong emotions that they evoke in people, and the battle lines that are inevitably drawn by any talk of wolf conservation. A brief sampling:
Just as American farmers once realized that erosion follows ignorance and learned how to plow differently, just as most of us finally learned that rivers should not be used as toxic dumps, so today we must learn that environments have the equivalent of operating systems. Predation by large carnivores is written deep into the code of much of the American landscape. Today, a rancher who expects to do business in a predator-free landscape is no more reasonable than yesterday’s industrialist who expected to use the nearest river as a sewer. Living with wolves may be a challenging proposition, but it’s hardly impossible to do -- as folks in Minnesota or Canada can attest.
These sentiments would have been heartily endorsed by Aldo Leopold.


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