Why Wolves Should be Sacred In America
I think there is a thing to be said about how little we humans know about animals. For one, their mysteriousness has lead us to believe all sorts of assumptions about them that really don't make sense. For example, the assumption that because animals do not speak the same languages or use their mouths a certain way, then they must not be smart enough to understand us in turn. In reality, what we need to realize is that animals are probably smarter than us in a lot of ways. I've tried numerous times to communicate this throughout my life.
I remember writing a story about wolves in the 7th grade. It was a story about how much I loved them. My intention, when writing that story, was to communicate that wolves were beautiful creatures who deserved to be respected. Instead, it only revealed even more ignorance. But I haven't given up, and I'm going to try again to educate people about what I know about wolves.
Many people don't know that wolves have their own language. Behavioral and vocal tones they use to communicate to one another is much like how us humans participate in complex conversations. We don't understand these conversations simply because, we aren't wolves and we don't speak or know their ways.
Wolves display an aggressive back ridge in their fur when they feel scared or threatened. Wolves will block their family from oncoming attackers by sacrificing themselves in the process. They use their body and head to protect the neck area of the pack member being threatened. They are not only strongly protective but deeply affectionate. They will nibble on each others face as a form of affection and respect. They are also very snuggly and love to cuddle.
They aren't just meat eaters. They also enjoy the occasional fruit, much like dogs enjoy their apple slices.
When wolves hunt they kill in the most humane way possible, snapping the neck as quickly as possible to avoid causing unnecessary pain. They do this out of survival, and mercy. To us, this seems horrible, until we place it into the context of them needing to survive. They only kill to eat, and for no other reason.
Wolves require that the alpha elder eat first. It is their tradition. All other wolves eat after.
Wolf packs are usually family units, meaning that one alpha male and one alpha female mate, and their offspring make up the pack. All other wolves in the pack assist with raising the pups, ensuring they are fed and protected while others hunt.
Wolves are generally not aggressive toward humans, and most of the time will mind their own business. They will only attack if provoked. Wolves are often just as curious about humans as humans are of them.
Their spine tingling howls communicate to other packs that certain territories are theirs. Lone wolves howl to gain the attention of their pack so that they can reconnect.
Wolves have rules, a highly organized social structure that allows them to coordinate in the hunt and to defend territory. They believe in pack order. The alpha male and female run the pack and keep other pack members in check.
Wolves mate for life. Once they find a partner, they usually stay with that partner forever, and they usually do not find another mate even if their initial mate has passed on.
Wolves initiate play much like dogs do. They may paw at each other to get the others attention before getting down on their haunches and gruffing excitedly. Then, they may run in a zig zag before taking off, their way of saying "chase me!"
Wolves are a keystone species and help forest ecosystems stay balanced. By hunting down their prey they inadvertently allow other species of plants and animals to flourish.
Wolves travel from Idaho up through the High Deserts to Oregon, and then on to Canada following the herds of caribou and elk, their chosen prey.
With that being said, I think wolves are amazing animals, and not just because of how cute they are but also because of how special their purpose is to our planet. Wolves, should be considered sacred in America because their lives are important and essential. I'm not just writing this because I am personally offended by the killing of these beautiful creatures. But I also think most Americans will agree, killing of any kind is wrong, and is really a very uncreative way to solve a complex wildlife conservation issue.
Right now, Idaho and Montana are trying to pass a law that will allow state officials to kill 90% of their grey wolf population, which will be detrimental to the work that thousands of wildlife conservationists have already done to try to build this significant animals populations back up. This started the #RelistWolves movement on Instagram, where people are asking others to speak up to prevent this atrocity.
There are people who are against this movement, most of them farmers in Idaho who have been directly affected by these wolves slaughtering their livestock. These concerns brought up by these farmers are completely valid, but not valid enough to justify killing off a species that was once put at the top of the endangered species list. Solving the issue of livestock being slaughtered by in turn slaughtering wolves, which are a keystone species, doesn't work, and will end up having serious consequences to our environment and, consequently, human populations in the future.
Wolves are so essential to our survival as a human species. Without wolves, we wouldn't have forests. Without forests, we wouldn't have deer and other veggie eating animals. Without those animals, us humans wouldn't have food. It cascades downward from there.
Here's how you can help right now: go to https://www.regulations.gove/documents/FWS-HQ-ES-2021-0106-0001, make a comment in the forum saying that you highly object to the mass killing of wolves in Idaho. With your voice, we can make a difference.
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About the author
My credentials: BA in English Literature with an Emphasis in Creative Writing
Two minors: Psychology and Chinese Language and Culture
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing