Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reduced the wolf hunt quota in recognition of the tribes’ off-reservation treaty rights.

The wolf quota has been reduced to 119, with tribes portion at 81 and they will not hunt their brother ma’iingan

The following is from Peter David, wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC).

“As this season has unfolded, many people have asked how they can support the tribes’ treaty rights and their desire to protect ma’iingan.”

I think one very tanglible thing is to applaud the DNR for reducing the quota in recognition of the tribes’ off-reservation treaty rights. You may not acually hear GLIFWC applaud them for this; it is afterall, what we expect them to do. But at the same time, DNR will take a lot of heat for doing this from certain quarters, and it is not a given that it will unfold the same way come fall. So I do suggest you let them know it’s appreciated; I think the more people and organizations that do, the better. Thank you all for your efforts!

Action Alert: Wisconsin hunters will be killing pregnant female gray wolves starting Monday February 22, 2021

Photograph of gray wolves credit John E Marriott

I had hope that Wisconsin could manage gray wolves, but they have shown otherwise by such acts of barbarism towards the gray wolf.

Gray wolves need your help! Please take action by contacting The White House to let the Biden Administration know what’s happening to Wisconsin’s gray wolf just fresh off the Endangered Species List on January 4, 2021. You can email the White House through the following link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and you can call the White House (202) 456-1111. On Monday, February 15th, the Wisconsin board of natural resources committed to killing 200 wolves over the next two weeks to comply with a court order that was issued last week. The order comes from judge Bennett Brantmeier, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge, who ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must hold a wolf hunt during the hunting season if wolves are off the endangered species list. Please share this action alert with other concerned advocates.

The appeal has been denied as of Friday February 19th now it’s even more important that advocates take action and let the Biden Administration know how Wisconsin’s gray wolf is being managed.

Rachel Tilseth, wolf tracker and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

January and February is prime breeding season for gray wolves. In her testimony, HSUS Wisconsin State Director Megan Nicholson addressed the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, urging them to reject the DNR’s proposed quota of 200 wolves and set a quota of zero.

“Opening an immediate trophy hunting season is scientifically unsupportable,” she said. “Allowing wolf trophy hunting and trapping at any level has dire consequences like destroying pack structure and leaving yearling pups to starve, and experts warn that allowing hunting at the excessive level outlined in the state’s current Management Plan is indefensible and could put wolves into significant jeopardy.”Nicholson added that holding a season in February will magnify harms to stable wolf packs and urged the board to take more time “to make informed and transparent decisions based on sound science, meaningful tribal consultation, and with the input of diverse stakeholders.”

Collette Adkins from Center for Biological Diversity said:

“I’m sickened by the eagerness of trophy hunters to kill Wisconsin’s wolves,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Through this lawsuit, trophy hunters seek to open a wolf hunt now without prior consultation with the tribes, in the middle of the wolf breeding season and against the direction given by experts at the Department of Natural Resources. I’m confident that the court will reject this baseless lawsuit.”

In an interview I told WPR reporter Danelle Kaeding my concerns about holding a wolf hunt in February. Wolf advocates have also expressed concerns over holding the harvest in the middle of the animal’s breeding season. Rachel Tilseth, wolf tracker and founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, fears holding a hunt now will only lead to negative outcomes for both hunters and wolves.

“They’re very territorial. So now you throw dogs into that — what’s going to happen there? It’s going to be a bloodbath,” said Tilseth. “There’s going to be a lot of fighting. Also, how is that going to affect the population if the females are pregnant right now? That’s going to have an impact on the health of the population. They have never ran a wolf hunt during January and February so this is going to be quite the mess because wolves are very territorial right now.”

Dylan Jennings, public information director with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said the wolf or Ma’iingan is a keystone species or relative for the commission’s member tribes and represents an iconic emblem of their clan systems or forms of government. Source WPR interview

Peter David, wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, said the court’s ruling was a tremendous disappointment.

“This hunt is not well-thought-out, well planned, totally inadequate consultation with the tribes,” said David. “And maybe the biggest concern of all is that this season is not so much a hunting season as it is a killing season. No justification, really, was given for what was the legitimate purpose other than killing wolves.” Source WPR Reporter Danelle Kaeding

Please take action to protect Wisconsin’s gray wolf

Our natural resources agency is sanctioning the hunting down of pregnant females with hound hunting dogs starting this Monday February 22 through Sunday the 28th. This act violates the public’s trust and shatters all ethical hunting standards. They are not serving or protecting Wisconsin’s wildlife. They’re slaughtering pregnant female gray wolves. I had hope that Wisconsin could manage gray wolves, but they have shown otherwise by such acts of barbarism towards the gray wolf. Please take action by contacting the Biden Administration. Please email the White House through the following link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

The following is important background information on what’s been happening to Wisconsin’s gray wolves since they were officially taken off the Endangered Species List on January 4, 2021.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wants to Kill 200 wolves in the Next Two Weeks

Lindsey Botts Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin News Media Author

Photo credit John E Marriott
http://www.wolvesofdougladcountywisconsin.com

On Monday, February 15th, the Wisconsin board of natural resources committed to killing 200 wolves over the next two weeks to comply with a court order that was issued last week. The order comes from judge Bennett Brantmeier, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge, who ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must hold a wolf hunt during the hunting season if wolves are off the endangered species list.

Dave Macfarland, wildlife researcher for the DNR, said the quota for 200 wolves was devised using two previous studies on wolf mortality. The studies concluded that wolf populations can be stabilized by killing up to between 22% – 29%. The DNR estimates that there are almost 1200 wolves in Wisconsin, which means the number is approximately 16% of the population. However, non-hunting activities, like car accidents; poaching; and depredation control, account for around 14% of wolf mortality. These two percentages combined get the DNR to the upper limits of what the reviewed studies say is a healthy wolf mortality rate.

“There’s going to be uncertainty”, said Macfarland in today’s broadcast of the special meeting. “And so the outcomes of this quota could result in population decline. They could result in stabilization. They could result in some level of increase. And that’s just inherent in populations of this size.”

The state divided the state into six management areas. The northern parts account for the largest percentages of wolves killed. The DNR is hoping to kill 62 wolves in zone 1, where Douglas County is located. This is the most of any of the six areas. In zone 2, which is the northeastern part of the state, the DNR hopes to kill 33 wolves. And in zone 3, which is situated just under zone 1, they expect to kill 40.

The decision to start the wolf hunt at the end of the season is a complete about-face from last month’s decision to wait until the fall. This would have given the DNR staff time to assess the population, devise a new wolf management plan, and solicit public feedback. However, a group of hunting advocates filed a lawsuit last week because they felt the hunt should be held as soon as possible because they fear that wolves may be relisted by the fall. This goes against the will of the overwhelming number of tribes that spoke out against holding a hunt so soon. And it goes against the will of most Wisconsinites, who do not favor holding a wolf hunt at all.

This move is controversial for many reasons including rushed timing, lack of an updated wolf plan, and clear political push, but one of the biggest issues is that it takes place during the breeding season, which means pregnant wolves will likely be killed.

The concern for holding a wolf hunt so soon and without thoroughly updated science has not gone unnoticed. In fact, one day after last week’s court order directly the DNR to hold a hunt, the DNR and Natural Resources Board filed an appeal seeking a stay that would halt the hunt. A decision on that is expected by the end of today.

One thing that has not been answered is whether or not the new wolf numbers will be factored into an updated wolf plan. The old plan from 1999 estimated that Wisconsin could hold 350 wolves. Since then, that number has been the goal. However, new science and counts say that the natural carrying capacity is actually closer to 1000.

What the department has to decide now is whether they want to be lead by science or lead by a misguided but vocal minority who want to suppress the wolf population down to as low as it can go.

Will the gray wolf, an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process?

Rachel Tilseth Author & Founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin News Media

Image of gray wolves credit Voyageurs Wolf Project http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

In the latest round of gray wolf delisting news, a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc, filed a lawsuit on February 2, 2021, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Board (NRB). The plaintiffs believe the NRB violated their rights by not approving a wolf hunt in February. The plaintiff’s complaint states:

The Department of Natural Resources refuses to comply with
unambiguous state law requiring it to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves. This refusal violates the constitutional and statutory rights of hunters throughout the State of Wisconsin. The Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court order DNR to obey the lawful commands of the Legislature that created it and immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping wolves.

The state law the complaint refers to is 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 states:

If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department (DNR) shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. 

A recreational hunt is not in the best interest of people or gray wolves.

Rachel Tilseth, founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Thus, the DNR is mandated by the law to manage a wolf hunt in Wisconsin.  The plaintiff’s want the DNR to immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping on wolves. And hunters get use dogs to track and trail wolves. That’s bad for gray wolves. Out of all the states that allows the hunting of gray wolves, Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves..

Opening a wolf hunt in February would disrupt the gray wolf’s breeding season. On Friday January 22, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board met virtually for a special meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. The public was invited to weigh in and the following was my comment on it.

Hunters want to run their dogs on wolves during prime breeding season.

January and February is prime breeding season for wolves. As a volunteer Wisconsin DNR wolf tracker I’ve witnessed how wolves behave this time of year. Holding a wolf hunt during this time would be disastrous for grey wolves and the wolf hunter’s dogs. Here’s why. During January I’ve followed wolf tracks and witnessed the entire wolf pack moving along the border of their territory

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if they threw hunters into the mix running their dogs during wolf prime breeding.

Following wolf tracks in January revealed how they behave during breeding season. Every member of the pack followed the alpha pair as they scent marked along the road. The road was a mile long and the alpha pair scent marked every tenth of a mile. At the end of the road I found a tiny snow-covered pine sapling with rust colored urine on it. The rust colored urine indicated the alpha female was in estrus. A tracker knows that sign reveals wolves are in prime breeding season. All of these signs from the alpha pair took place on the border territory indicating this was an aggressive act meant to declare territory.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if you threw wolf hunters into the mix running their dogs on wolves during wolf prime breeding. I’m against this, and I’m sure other Wisconsinites, if given the facts about grey wolf prime breeding season, would not be in favor of a hunt at this time of the year either.

Senator Rob Stafsholt, a member of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, is pushing for an immediate wolf hunt. 

Rob Stafsholt has become a representative, and now a senator for Wisconsin’s 10th district and is pushing for a wolf hunt. He is on a mission to bypass public input and go straight to a wolf hunt. In a statement  Stafsholt said: “This designation has returned management to the state. Under state statutes, the DNR is required to implement a harvest season, unless preempted by federal law. Wisconsin law establishes a wolf hunting season once federal protections are removed to begin on the first Saturday in November, and conclude on February 28th.

The NRB voted no to an early wolf hunt.

Thankfully Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for their brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and the Natural Resources Board voted no to an early February wolf hunt. So now instead of accepting the NRB decision a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc has filed a lawsuit to immediately open a wolf hunt in February during prime breeding season. I asked Collette Adkins what she thought of the lawsuit.

“I’m sickened by the eagerness of trophy hunters to kill Wisconsin’s wolves,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Through this lawsuit, trophy hunters seek to open a wolf hunt now without prior consultation with the tribes, in the middle of the wolf breeding season and against the direction given by experts at the Department of Natural Resources. I’m confident that the court will reject this baseless lawsuit.”

Wolf hunters in Wisconsin killed 528 wolves from 2012 through 2014 before a federal judge ruled in 2014 must be placed back on the endangered species list. Gray Wolf

Furthermore, the The Plaintiff, Hilgemann, President and CEO and a member of Hunter Nation, “would like to exercise his constitutional and statutory rights to hunt wolves…” Lawsuit filed by Hunter Nation Inc. 

Should Hilgwmann’s rights supersede others rights?

But what about the rights of the volunteer DNR wolf trackers? Trackers count wolves during the winter months.  What will happen to wolf trackers when hunters run their dogs thru the woods at the same time? How can trackers get an accurate count if a hunter”s dogs disperse wolf packs? 

The Biden administration ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s delisting of gray wolves.

Just one week after President Biden ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s anti-wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summarily asserted today that the previous administration’s decision to delist the gray wolf was valid in a cursory, three-paragraph letter to conservation groups. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org press release.

Is the lawsuit frivolous, baseless and without merit; not worth the judges time?

In the end, it is up to a judge to determine whether or not the plaintiff’s case is baseless or not. Will an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process? Will DNR get to update the wolf management plan allowing the public to weigh in?

Update as of 02/15/21 a judge ruled in favor of Hunter Nation Inc’s lawsuit and the ruling ordered DNR to open a hunt immediately. The NRB just opened a wolf hunt starting on 02/22/21 setting a quota at 200 wolves. The following is part of my interview with WPR. Click the listen now button in the link: https://www.wpr.org/listen/1761701

In short, a more inclusive, scientifically sound, culturally sensitive and publicly supported wolf program would be much more likely to garner success in removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes region.

Adrian Wydeven, Good stewardship is key to removing wolf from endangered list

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wants to Kill 200 wolves in the Next Two Weeks

John E. Marriott

On Monday, February 15th, the Wisconsin board of natural resources committed to killing 200 wolves over the next two weeks to comply with a court order that was issued last week. The order comes from judge Bennett Brantmeier, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge, who ruled that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must hold a wolf hunt during the hunting season if wolves are off the endangered species list.

Dave Macfarland, wildlife researcher for the DNR, said the quota for 200 wolves was devised using two previous studies on wolf mortality. The studies concluded that wolf populations can be stabilized by killing up to between 22% – 29%. The DNR estimates that there are almost 1200 wolves in Wisconsin, which means the number is approximately 16% of the population. However, non-hunting activities, like car accidents; poaching; and depredation control, account for around 14% of wolf mortality. These two percentages combined get the DNR to the upper limits of what the reviewed studies say is a healthy wolf mortality rate.

“There’s going to be uncertainty”, said Macfarland in today’s broadcast of the special meeting. “And so the outcomes of this quota could result in population decline. They could result in stabilization. They could result in some level of increase. And that’s just inherent in populations of this size.”

 

The state divided the state into six management areas. The northern parts account for the largest percentages of wolves killed. The DNR is hoping to kill 62 wolves in zone 1, where Douglas County is located. This is the most of any of the six areas. In zone 2, which is the northeastern part of the state, the DNR hopes to kill 33 wolves. And in zone 3, which is situated just under zone 1, they expect to kill 40.

The decision to start the wolf hunt at the end of the season is a complete about-face from last month’s decision to wait until the fall. This would have given the DNR staff time to assess the population, devise a new wolf management plan, and solicit public feedback. However, a group of hunting advocates filed a lawsuit last week because they felt the hunt should be held as soon as possible because they fear that wolves may be relisted by the fall. This goes against the will of the overwhelming number of tribes that spoke out against holding a hunt so soon. And it goes against the will of most Wisconsinites, who do not favor holding a wolf hunt at all.

This move is controversial for many reasons including rushed timing, lack of an updated wolf plan, and clear political push, but one of the biggest issues is that it takes place during the breeding season, which means pregnant wolves will likely be killed.

The concern for holding a wolf hunt so soon and without thoroughly updated science has not gone unnoticed. In fact, one day after last week’s court order directly the DNR to hold a hunt, the DNR and Natural Resources Board filed an appeal seeking a stay that would halt the hunt. A decision on that is expected by the end of today.

One thing that has not been answered is whether or not the new wolf numbers will be factored into an updated wolf plan. The old plan from 1999 estimated that Wisconsin could hold 350 wolves. Since then, that number has been the goal. However, new science and counts say that the natural carrying capacity is actually closer to 1000.

What the department has to decide now is whether they want to be lead by science or lead by a misguided but vocal minority who want to suppress the wolf population down to as low as it can go.

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board is asking for public comments regarding the next steps to establishing an early wolf hunt.

Wisconsin gray wolf. Photograph credit Snapshot Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will meet virtually on Monday for a Special Meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin for February 2021.

Deadline For Written Comments: 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14 Please submit written comments here.

There’s a lot of problems with starting a wolf hunt right now in February. That’s in the middle of the wolf breeding season. That’s never been done before.”

Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

A conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc, filed a lawsuit on February 2, 2021, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Board (NRB). The plaintiffs believe the NRB violated their rights by not approving a wolf hunt in February. On Thursday February 11th a Jefferson county judge sided with pro wolf hunters and ordered the WDNR, NRB to open a wolf hunt immediately. There will be an appeal. But in the meantime, with a couple weeks left in February before the wolf hunting season ends, will there be time to set a quota which must be approved by the Natural Resources Board along with public input. Thus will the attempt to usurp the democratic process by a few disgruntled pro wolf hunters fail?

Colette Atkins is an attorney with the Center for Bilogical Diversity, based in Arizona. The group filed an amicus brief in support of the DNR’s decision to hold off on a hunt until next fall. Atkins told WPR it’s unfeasible and potentially impossible for the DNR to do the work of implementing a wolf season within the next 17 days.

“(The DNR) committed to having a wolf hunt in 2021 that would start in November,” said Atkins. “The Legislature made a conscious decision to have that start in November. There’s a lot of problems with starting a wolf hunt right now in February. That’s in the middle of the wolf breeding season. That’s never been done before.”

Please submit written comments here on the agenda item to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. Requests for public testimony will not be accepted. The deadline to submit written comments is 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if they threw hunters into the mix running their dogs during wolf prime breeding.

Rachel Tilseth WDNR Volunteer Wolf Tracker & founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

The following is a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 12, 2021
Contact: Laurie Ross, NRB Board Liaison 
Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov or 608-267-7420DNR Office of Communications 
DNRPress@wisconsin.gov

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board 
Announces Special Meeting Feb. 15

Deadline For Written Comments:
11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will meet virtually on Monday for a Special Meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021.

The virtual meeting will begin at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, originating from the Public Meeting Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison, Wisconsin. The Board will act on items 1-2 as listed on the agenda.

The public can watch the Special Meeting via Zoom here. If the meeting is at capacity and you are unable to join, the Special Meeting will also be livestreamed here.

Please submit written comments here on the agenda item to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. Requests for public testimony will not be accepted. The deadline to submit written comments is 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.

The NRB will also meet virtually for the upcoming board meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, to consider several proposed emergency rules and donations. The Board will act on items 1-4 and 7-8 as listed on the Agenda. More information is available here.

Will the gray wolf, an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process?

Image of gray wolves credit Voyageurs Wolf Project http://www.voyageurswolfproject.org

In the latest round of gray wolf delisting news, a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc, filed a lawsuit on February 2, 2021, against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Board (NRB). The plaintiffs believe the NRB violated their rights by not approving a wolf hunt in February. The plaintiff’s complaint states:

The Department of Natural Resources refuses to comply with
unambiguous state law requiring it to allow the hunting and trapping of wolves. This refusal violates the constitutional and statutory rights of hunters throughout the State of Wisconsin. The Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court order DNR to obey the lawful commands of the Legislature that created it and immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping wolves.

The state law the complaint refers to is 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 states:

If the wolf is not listed on the federal endangered list and is not listed on the state endangered list, the department (DNR) shall allow the hunting and trapping of wolves and shall regulate such hunting and trapping as provided in this section and shall implement a wolf management plan. 

A recreational hunt is not in the best interest of people or gray wolves.

Rachel Tilseth, founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

Thus, the DNR is mandated by the law to manage a wolf hunt in Wisconsin.  The plaintiff’s want the DNR to immediately establish an open season for hunting and trapping on wolves. And hunters get use dogs to track and trail wolves. That’s bad for gray wolves. Out of all the states that allows the hunting of gray wolves, Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs; Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves..

Opening a wolf hunt in February would disrupt the gray wolf’s breeding season. On Friday January 22, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board met virtually for a special meeting to discuss the next steps to establish a wolf hunt in Wisconsin in 2021. The public was invited to weigh in and the following was my comment on it.

Hunters want to run their dogs on wolves during prime breeding season.

January and February is prime breeding season for wolves. As a volunteer Wisconsin DNR wolf tracker I’ve witnessed how wolves behave this time of year. Holding a wolf hunt during this time would be disastrous for grey wolves and the wolf hunter’s dogs. Here’s why. During January I’ve followed wolf tracks and witnessed the entire wolf pack moving along the border of their territory

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if they threw hunters into the mix running their dogs during wolf prime breeding.

Following wolf tracks in January revealed how they behave during breeding season. Every member of the pack followed the alpha pair as they scent marked along the road. The road was a mile long and the alpha pair scent marked every tenth of a mile. At the end of the road I found a tiny snow-covered pine sapling with rust colored urine on it. The rust colored urine indicated the alpha female was in estrus. A tracker knows that sign reveals wolves are in prime breeding season. All of these signs from the alpha pair took place on the border territory indicating this was an aggressive act meant to declare territory.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen if you threw wolf hunters into the mix running their dogs on wolves during wolf prime breeding. I’m against this, and I’m sure other Wisconsinites, if given the facts about grey wolf prime breeding season, would not be in favor of a hunt at this time of the year either.

Senator Rob Stafsholt, a member of Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, is pushing for an immediate wolf hunt.

Rob Stafsholt has become a representative, and now a senator for Wisconsin’s 10th district and is pushing for a wolf hunt. He is on a mission to bypass public input and go straight to a wolf hunt. In a statement  Stafsholt said: “This designation has returned management to the state. Under state statutes, the DNR is required to implement a harvest season, unless preempted by federal law. Wisconsin law establishes a wolf hunting season once federal protections are removed to begin on the first Saturday in November, and conclude on February 28th.

The NRB voted no to an early wolf hunt.

Thankfully Wisconsin’s tribes spoke up for their brother “Ma’iingan” the wolf and the Natural Resources Board voted no to an early February wolf hunt. So now instead of accepting the NRB decision a conservative advocacy group, Hunter Nation Inc has filed a lawsuit to immediately open a wolf hunt in February during prime breeding season. I asked Collette Adkins what she thought of the lawsuit.

“I’m sickened by the eagerness of trophy hunters to kill Wisconsin’s wolves,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Through this lawsuit, trophy hunters seek to open a wolf hunt now without prior consultation with the tribes, in the middle of the wolf breeding season and against the direction given by experts at the Department of Natural Resources. I’m confident that the court will reject this baseless lawsuit.”

 

Furthermore, the The Plaintiff, Hilgemann, President and CEO and a member of Hunter Nation, “would like to exercise his constitutional and statutory rights to hunt wolves…” Lawsuit filed by Hunter Nation Inc.

Should Hilgwmann’s rights supersede others rights?

But what about the rights of the volunteer DNR wolf trackers? Trackers count wolves during the winter months.  What will happen to wolf trackers when hunters run their dogs thru the woods at the same time? How can trackers get an accurate count if a hunter”s dogs disperse wolf packs? 

The Biden administration ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s delisting of gray wolves.

Just one week after President Biden ordered a broad review of the Trump administration’s anti-wildlife policies, including the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summarily asserted today that the previous administration’s decision to delist the gray wolf was valid in a cursory, three-paragraph letter to conservation groups. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org press release.

Is the lawsuit frivolous, baseless and without merit; not worth the judges time?

In the end, it is up to a judge to determine whether or not the plaintiff’s case is baseless or not. Will an endangered species, just fresh off the list get its due process? Will DNR get to update the wolf management plan allowing the public to weigh in?

Update as of 02/15/21 a judge ruled in favor of Hunter Nation Inc’s lawsuit and the ruling ordered DNR to open a hunt immediately. The NRB just opened a wolf hunt starting on 02/22/21 setting a quota at 200 wolves. The following is part of my interview with WPR. Click the listen now button in the link: https://www.wpr.org/listen/1761701

In short, a more inclusive, scientifically sound, culturally sensitive and publicly supported wolf program would be much more likely to garner success in removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list in the Great Lakes region.

Adrian Wydeven, Good stewardship is key to removing wolf from endangered list

The bear and the wolf are the two of the most powerful spirits in the forest

Photograph credit John E Marriott

An essay by guest blogger Barry Babcock

I decided to re-share Barry’s essay because Wisconsin’s wild gray wolf is about to face hound hunter’s dogs in a proposed wolf hunt for November 2021. Wisconsin is the only state that allows hunters to use dogs to track & trail wolves. Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves. Rachel Tilseth

“The Cherokees….put bears in a special category. To the Cherokees, the bear represented the division between people and animals, and bears were descended from people. Long ago, according to a Cherokee legend, all the Cherokees in a certain town decided to live in the forest with the animals, so that they would always have enough to eat. Other Cherokees sent messengers to the forest to try to persuade them to come back, but when the messengers arrived they saw that the people already had long black hair like bears. The bear-people refused to return.  ‘Hereafter we shall be called bears and when you yourselves are hungry, come into the woods and call us and we shall come and give you our flesh,’ one of the bear-people said. ‘You shall not be afraid of us, for we shall live always.’

“As the messengers were leaving they looked back, and saw a group of black bears going into the forest.

“This legend illustrates the Cherokees’ belief that a bear did not really die when it was apparently killed. It simply returned to its home in the forest or swamp, and resumed its life. This belief, which was shared by most Native American Indians, explains how these people were able to kill an animal they regarded as almost human or god-like. Nevertheless, holding this animal in such high regard required that the hunting of it and other actions connected with its death be carried out in a certain way. If these rules were not followed, the bear’s ghost would take revenge on the killer.” [“Black Bear –The Spirit of the Wilderness” Barbara Ford, pg 43-44]

Where I live in northern Minnesota and where many of my friends live in northern Wisconsin, bears have made a remarkable come-back since the 1970’s when bear populations had been decimated. In Minnesota, bears were classified by our DNR as “vermin” and could be killed day or night, year round. It was legal to shine them at night or kill them in their dens. Bear sightings were a rare event. But since protections were implemented and bears recovered, an economic take-over of hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits has affected these endeavors like a creeping malady. I call this economic disorder; the recreation/industrial complex. Our public lands and plant and animal communities have become market places for a vast network of corporations aimed at redefining what is hunting and turned hunting into more about consumption than a real experience in nature. We have lost what respect we had for game species and now see them appeasements to our insatiable appetite for ego aggrandizement and a plethora of contraptions. Little respect is left for the quarry.

I do not wish to get into a blame game or that my state is better than other states but perhaps the most deplorable treatment of bears is in Wisconsin where hounding is permitted by law. The disregard for both bear and dog is nothing short of barbaric. And now the wolf too is found in the vortex of this debate. The debate and struggle in Wisconsin has made all of us take a deeper look at bear hunting and the impacts of baiting, hounding, harassment, ethics and the role of mega predators like the bear and the wolf in our natural ecosystems. None of this is to say, Minnesota has it right, as it doesn’t. There are licensed bear guide services in Minnesota that have up to one hundred bait stations that cater to the bear hunter with the hopes of killing a huge bear yet the average bear killed is more likely to be a 130 to 150 pound three year old that hasn’t been on its own for three years. The trails servicing these baits are hammered by ATVs and are all on public lands yet the public has little to say about the ethics of this. The special interests and dollars of groups like the Sportsman Caucus have the ear of legislators.

The debate and struggle in Wisconsin has made all of us take a deeper look at bear hunting and the impacts of baiting, hounding, harassment, ethics and the role of mega predators like the bear and the wolf in our natural ecosystems.

The whole notion of baiting is for humans who are either too stupid to figure out the habits of bears and think they can bring a bear to them. A good hunter would understand the status of the forest plant community and that would put him where the bears should be without the use of baits. I have witnessed hunters bringing in pickup truck loads of bait and dumping it in the woods. The success rate should dictate that this method doesn’t work but most hunters just don’t get it. Sure, a few hunters get lucky and take a larger and more mature bear but not the greater majority. It’s young, immature bears who haven’t learned to ignore baits till well after dark that are mostly killed.
I have been a hunter for over fifty years but now find my hunting restricted to deer and ruffed grouse. As I age, I find my desire to take a life harder to do. I let more deer pass by me and come up with excuses to not take the animal such as; there is a fawn with the doe, or the buck is too young, or it’s too early in the season and I don’t want to use my tag now and have such an early end to my hunting season. Concerning bears, I applied for a license in 1996 and was drawn but the spirit and desire to kill a bear wasn’t there and I went out once and that was enough. I live on a bear travel corridor and see and photograph many bears and I could never find myself taking the life of a bear. I see them as neighbors and acquaintances. I am in their home.

Photograph credit by John E Marriott

Where I live in Minnesota, I am surrounded by the three largest Indian Reservations in the state and have many native friends. Of these friends, I was lucky to know Chi Ma’iingan (aka, Larry Stillday), the late great Ojibwe spiritual leader of Red Lake. He taught me about the “Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers” which helped me connect some dots in my life that were yet unconnected. He made me realize that by observing all wildlife has teachings and value that will make me a better human being. Wild animals can and will teach us if we take the time to observe with open minds. “When people are balanced and in-harmony with our Earth Mother the animals know that, that’s what the old people used to say is the animals are talking to us, sometimes they use sound, but most of the time they use their behavior, its therefore up to us to be able to read what their acting out.” Chi Ma’iingan

All the earth’s living organisms will do just fine without us but we need these same communities to survive. These teachings; love, respect, humility, courage, wisdom, truth and honesty are incorporated into the teachings of the eagle, buffalo, wolf, bear, beaver, turtle and Masabe (the wilderness man or big foot.)

These are the teachings of Makwa (the bear) as taught by Chi Ma’iingan:

• To have the courage of the bear is to overcome our fears that prevent us from living out our true spirit as human beings.

• To have courage is to have the mental and moral strength to listen to our heart.

• In the natural world the BEAR shows us the spirit of courage.

• By nature it is very gentle, but if you show any sign of approaching a bear cub it will display total fearlessness in defending her cub.

• The bear represents power, industriousness, instinctive healing, gentle strength, introspection, dreams and living of the heart-living spirit.

• The bear is very close to the land and brings many medicines to our people.

• When we have a hard time in our life, whether it be something we’re going through or a decision we have to make and we are afraid, we can call on the spirit of the bear to help us have the courage and strength to do the right thing for our life.

• The bear is the part of self that needs to retreat into its own space, hibernate and heals itself.

• It is comforting and protective and a common animal spirit for Mothers.

The bear and the wolf are the two of the most powerful spirits in the forest. Anyone experiencing the bear will immediately feel its power; both spiritually and physically. Though the bear is by nature a peaceable animal it has incredible strength and speed. They deserve our respect and their right to exist unmolested and peace in their home. To harass with hounds and spread bait over the forest as is happening in Wisconsin is crossing the line of moral decency and only benefits Cabala’s, Gander Mountain, ATV manufacturers, and a long line of corporations that are profiting off miss-guided hunters and the bear himself. The first lesson we need to learn from Makwa is his teaching of “courage” and that also means having the courage to do what is right.

Doing the right thing in regards to living in peace with Mother Earth can start with taking seriously the “seven teachings” of our Anishinaabe neighbors. This is what it means to be a better human being. The bear is not a commodity to bring hunting revenue into a state. The bear is one of the Creators great achievements. The bear has reached the zenith of evolutionary achievements; he is a teacher of medicinal herbs, healing, industriousness, introspection, dreams and living of the heart-living spirit and most importantly “courage”

I would hope that the Cherokee belief, “… holding this animal [the bear] in such high regard required that the hunting of it and other actions connected with its death be carried out in a certain way. If these rules were not followed, the bear’s ghost would take revenge on the killer.” Hopefully our miss-guided social attitudes towards the bear and other life will be altered someday and those who have no respect or ethics towards the bear will be heaped with scorn and learn to walk the good path in a good way and learn to respect Makwa.

“As I penned this essay on my experiences with Makwa, it was early January, in the midst of winter and the bears were asleep in their dens. I do not prefer to write in the winter, but it is the most convenient time to do so. The rest of the year is consumed by chores of gardening, ricing, maple sugaring, putting up firewood, hunting, fishing, and other labors of love. I look forward to winter as my chores are completed, the days are short and the nights are long. Winter has become the time of year for sleeping in the long nights, taking walks in the silence of winter, reflecting on myself and loved ones, and getting my mind right. It is the bear within me, or as Larry said, “The bear is the part of self that needs to retreat into its own space, hibernate and heal itself.” It is now that I remember the bear people who I live with and take healing in the messages they give me. When winter ends and spring comes, and when the first bear comes to see me in late April, I will be most pleased to see them again, my teacher, Makwa, and when I do meet Makwa again, I will think of his courage and know that his teaching means having the courage to do what is right.” [“Teachers in the Forest”] 

Teachers In the Forest
This collection of essays, from one of Minnesota’s prominent voices for the environment, discuss the author’s connection to the wild. He shares his experiences living off-grid, harnessing solar power from the sun, pumping his water well by hand every day, hunting, fishing, and gathering, all as part of the natural world, and not above it.

This is also a philosophical adventure, as Babcock discusses how traditional scientists and native American spiritual leaders have arrived at the same concept of protecting our environment, but by use of completely different methods, theories, and practices of living.

Babcock has been active in defending Minnesota’s environment for more than two decades, and was recently featured in the documentary film: MEDICINE OF THE WOLF. 

About Barry Babcock 

Barry walks the walk. He and his wife Linda own 40 acres living literally “off the grid.” You’ll read stories of that land, about gardening, a hidden lake, three dogs, a gas refrigerator, an outdoor hand pump, with 100% of their electricity generated from solar collectors. The author fishes, hunts with a bow, wild rices, and does sugar bush.
 

Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet: Wisconsin, quite literally, throws dogs to wolves

The Wisconsin legislature sanctioned “Wolf Hounding ” with 2011 Wisconsin Act 169 that allows the use of dogs to track and trail wolves. 2011 Wisconsin Act 169

The following is a wolf hounding fact sheet that was put together in 2013 by several professionals that were in apposition to Wisconsin’s law, Act 169, that allowed the use of dogs in Wisconsin’s wolf hunt. Dogs were used to track and trail wolves in 2013 & 2014. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was involved in putting these fact sheets together. There are plans to re-establish a wolf hunt for November 2021 now that gray wolves are officially delisted, and Wisconsin is the only state that allows the “Barbaric” use of dogs in the wolf hunt. TAKE ACTION: contact your Wisconsin legislature contact and make it clear you do not sanction Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin!

1. Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”Hound hunters traditionally train their dogs to focus on specific prey by releasing their dogs to surround, attack and terrorize a prey animal (e.g. a bear cub or fox) for hours on end (up to 16 hours/day) enclosed in a small, open barrel or “roll cage.” At this point it remains disturbingly unclear as to how hound hunters will train their dogs to pursue wolves instead of other animals—will it be by capturing wolves and allowing their dogs to attack them in barrels and pens? How isn’t this worse than illegal dog fighting?

 “There has never been a more important time for the people of Wisconsin to show they are not going to give in to a small group of people that want to torture animals for fun under the guise of “sport.”  ~Rachel Tilseth

2. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, charged with overseeing the wolf hunt, has no rules in place that require hound handlers to report dogs injured or killed in the pursuit of wolves during a hunt. In fact, there is no monitoring or certification program whatsoever in place for the use of dogs in the wolf hunt; thus the state has little ability to hold hound hunters accountable for training or hunting violations or to prevent deadly and inhumane wolf-dog confrontations (e.g., hunters allowing dogs to overtake and kill rifle-shot wolves). These circumstances explain why Wisconsin stands alone: using dogs to hunt wolves is no better than state-sponsored dog fighting.

In 2013 & 2014 Wisconsin sanctioned the use of dogs to hunt wolves. 

3. Hound handlers are equipped with high tech radio telemetry devices that allow them to track GPS-collared hunting dogs from long distances. They are often not able to catch up to hounds that have a wolf at bay to prevent deadly fights between dogs and wolves. As proof of this, to date, Wisconsin has paid nearly $500,000 to “reimburse” hound-hunters for hunting dogs injured or killed by wolves. See link WDNR Dog depredations by wolves

Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”

4. According to DNR regulations, hound handlers are only allowed to use up to six dogs at a time to trail wolves. But handlers often replace tired dogs with fresh ones and younger dogs. It is common for a handler to be unable to retrieve the tired dogs, and end up with up well over 6 dogs chasing one wolf, potentially twice or even three times as many. There is no monitoring system in place to ensure that only 6 dogs pursue wolves.

*Wolf hunters are not reimbursed when wolves kill dog/dogs while in pursuit of wolves, but are when in pursuit of bear.  

Join Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin’s campaign to end Wolf Hounding 

TAKE ACTION: contact your Wisconsin Legislator here and make it clear you do not sanction Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin!

At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst. ~Aristotle

Wisconsin is the only state that allows hunters to use dogs to track and trail wolves.

Although the caribou feeds the wolf, it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong.

The people realized that the caribou and the wolf were one…

The Wolf and the Caribou-myth and legend has more truth to it today than ever before! In this time of mass extinction we must heed the wisdom of the indigenous people. The Inuit, the people of the North, take a different view of the wolf than western cultures. The Inuit have their own idea of why the wolf was created.

In the beginning, the Inuit creation story tell, there was a man and a woman, nothing else on the Earth walked or swam or flew. So the woman dug a big hole in the ground and she started fishing in it. She pulled out all of the animals. The last animal she pulled out was the caribou. The woman set the caribou free and ordered it to multiply. Soon the land was full of caribou, and the people lived well and they were happy. But the hunters only killed those caribou that were big and strong. Soon all that was left were the weak and the sick, and the people began to starve. The woman had to make magic again, and this time she called Amorak, the spirit of the wolf, to winnow out the weak and the sick, so that the herd would once again be strong. The people realized that the caribou and the wolf were one, for although the caribou feeds the wolf, it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong.” ~Inuit Creation Story

Photograph credit John E Marriott

The people realized that the caribou and the wolf were one, for although the caribou feeds the wolf, it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong.”

Photograph credit John E Marriott

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Opinion: Why the Wolf?

Canis lupus italicus, cuccioli che guardano – Photo by Antonio Iannibelli

This is the question I hear most often from those who know me and are amazed that all of a sudden I am dealing with wolves. In fact, I teach English and my life has been oriented towards other goals after having searched in vain for a way to study and graduate in a subject, Ethology, which in Turin in 1980 still resonated like a whimsy of the” flower children”. But certain things “go around immense and then come back”, so many years have passed, and after Milla died – a crossbreed very similar to a wolf and my guiding spirit for 10 years – from 2013 I started doing anthropological and naturalistic research, to understand better the behavior of these magical creatures who, in the meantime, have come back to the Alps and now populate the woods of my house, in Val di Susa.

Alps, Valle di Susa, Italy – Photo by Brunella Pernigotti

Since then, the more I get into the study of wolves, the more I realize that the atavistic bond that binds us is made up of much deeper and inherent elements in both our natures, which are so similar and parallel. Wolves are our alter ego, they are the mirror in which men see themselves and find their roots, for better or for worse. Our society tends to disconnect us from nature and its laws, deluding ourselves that we can control everything on earth, under the sea, in the sky. Human history has only ever taken and consumed the Earth, the wolf now represents an obvious obstacle and is here to tell us: Enough!

The distorted image we have of these creatures is due to many factors, ancient and modern. We have forgotten it, but there are populations still strongly linked to the Earth, who respect and consider its creatures as our teachers. The wolf has taught us not only the techniques of hunting, but also the strategies of encirclement, charge and attack, which men have used in their military actions for centuries. Now the question that prompts me to investigate is: why do we maintain such a difficult and contradictory relationship with this species? Maybe because wolves are predators, considered rather dangerous, but not enough to revere them and elevate them to the rank of the most noble (always according to a human evaluation) felines such as the lion or the tiger?… We tear our clothes off if a hunter kills a lion in distant Africa, but we let the most important remaining predators, those at the top of the perfect natural trophic mechanism of our regions, be hunted, tortured, or poisoned in our home. Why? Do we think that wolves are bad dogs? Why do we have the right to judge them instead of simply accepting them? Would we perhaps like to erase with them that wild part that we know is in ourselves? …

These are open questions. But, I repeat, I am sure of one thing: that we are disconnected, detached from our own roots, so we no longer realize that the world we have created is falling into a chasm full of plastic and pollutants, where the natural habitats no longer exist, not only for the rest of creatures, but also for us. Recreating environments, where free and uncontaminated nature reigns, is a gift that we should give to us and to the future generations. Each creature has its own role in the ecosystem, whether we want it or not. Unfortunately, we have already lost thousands of species that have become extinct through our fault, because we do not want to change our attitude and we believe that we are right, yet we do not realize that we become poorer, (and sicker), every time we cut down a plant, or a forest disappears, or we kill a living creature for no reason. As Jane Goodall says: let’s try to consider wolves, and other animals, as sentient beings, who are capable of feeling joy, pain, fear, love. And I think: like us, they are affectionate and, within their pack, they take care of each other; they too are competitive and territorial, so they defend their borders and can attack and kill if other alien wolves threaten their lands; finally, they have to feed their offspring so, to get food, they use the weapons they are equipped with: fangs, physical strength, but also intelligence and flexibility. The differences with humans do not seem so many to me.

Undoubtedly the presence of the wolf is uncomfortable and in Europe, where the natural territory has now been almost completely modified and domesticated, this problem is particularly felt, but the solution cannot be to erase them from the face of the Earth. Simple common sense should suggest that by doing so, we would create a dangerous void in the ecosystem that could be immediately filled by another species or which could lead to a significant loss of balance in the “natural system”. So we must commit ourselves to change attitudes, trying to dialogue with all the parties involved, putting aside prejudices and entrenched positions. Thinking of being on the side of reason and expecting “others” to change their opinion will lead nowhere. It takes willpower, humility and open-mindedness to meet, look each other into the eyes and talk, bearing in mind that each person counts and can make a difference: who has the courage to change, will change the world. Only an empathic, intelligent and wise approach will help us to find together a solution that leads to the peaceful coexistence of all creatures.

Finally, I love to remember that every wolf is an individual, with its own story, even if often there is no one to tell it. Theirs are stories of heroes without medals, of difficulties and risks, of kilometers traveled, of courage, of death and of hope. Stories of love, of atavistic wisdom, of hiding places, of air and howled stars, magical stories we can read in the depths of their eyes. Let’s make sure that the green flame, the same that Aldo Leopold saw in that gaze, does not go out.

Perché il lupo?

Canis lupus italicus, cuccioli che guardano – Foto di Antonio Iannibelli

Perché il lupo? Questa è la domanda che mi sento rivolgere più spesso da chi mi conosce e si stupisce che improvvisamente mi stia occupando di lupi. In effetti insegno inglese e la mia vita si era orientata verso altre mete dopo aver cercato inutilmente il modo di studiare e di laurearmi in una materia, l’Etologia, che a Torino nel 1980 ancora risuonava come una stramberia dei figli dei fiori. Ma certe cose “fanno giri immensi e poi ritornano”, così passati molti anni, e dopo che Milla morì – una meticcia molto simile a un lupo nonché il mio spirito guida per 10 anni – a partire dal 2013 iniziai a fare ricerche antropologiche e naturalistiche, per comprendere il comportamento di queste magiche creature che, nel frattempo, erano tornate a popolare i boschi di casa mia, in Val di Susa.

C’e’ Solo una donna nella lotta per educare il pubbico sui lupi. Potra’ educarvi. Producer Rachel Tilseth. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin News Media.

Da allora, più mi addentro nello studio dei lupi, più mi rendo conto che il legame atavico che ci lega è costituito da elementi molto più profondi e insiti nelle nostre nature così simili e parallele. I lupi sono il nostro alter ego, sono lo specchio in cui gli uomini si vedono e ritrovano le proprie radici, nel bene e nel male. La nostra società tende a disconnetterci dalla natura e dalle sue leggi, illudendoci di poter controllare ogni cosa sulla terra, sotto i mari, nel cielo. La storia umana ha sempre e solo preso e consumato la Terra, il lupo ora rappresenta un evidente ostacolo ed è qui per dirci: Basta!

L’immagine distorta che abbiamo di queste creature è dovuta a molti fattori, antichi e moderni. Noi l’abbiamo dimenticato, ma ci sono popolazioni ancora fortemente legate alla Terra, che rispettano le sue creature per ciò che esse ci insegnano. Il lupo ci ha insegnato non solo le tecniche della caccia, ma anche le strategie di accerchiamento, carica e attacco, utilizzate poi dagli uomini nelle guerre. Ora la domanda che mi spinge a indagare è: perché manteniamo nei confronti di questa specie un rapporto così difficile e contraddittorio? I lupi sono predatori, ritenuti dall’uomo piuttosto pericolosi, ma non abbastanza da riverirli ed elevarli al rango dei più nobili (sempre secondo una valutazione umana) felini quali il leone o la tigre. Ci strappiamo le vesti se un cacciatore uccide un leone nella lontana Africa, ma lasciamo che a casa nostra vengano cacciati, seviziati, o avvelenati i più importanti predatori rimasti, quelli all’apice del perfetto meccanismo trofico naturale delle nostre regioni. Perché? Pensiamo forse che i lupi siano dei cani venuti su male? Per quale motivo ci arroghiamo il diritto di giudicarli invece di accettarli semplicemente? Vorremmo forse cancellare con loro quella parte selvaggia che vediamo in noi stessi? …

Domande aperte. Ma ripeto, di una cosa sono certa: che siamo disconnessi, staccati dalle nostre stesse radici, per cui non ci rendiamo più conto che il mondo che abbiamo creato sta precipitando in una voragine piena di plastica e inquinanti, dove non esistono più gli habitat ritenuti naturali, non solo per il resto delle creature, ma anche per noi stessi. Ricreare degli ambienti in cui regni la natura libera e incontaminata è un regalo che dovremmo fare a noi e alle future generazioni. Ogni creatura ha un suo ruolo nell’ecosistema, che noi lo vogliamo oppure no. Purtroppo abbiamo già perso migliaia di specie che si sono estinte per colpa nostra, perché non sappiamo cambiare atteggiamento e crediamo di essere dalla parte della ragione, quando in realtà non ci rendiamo conto che diventiamo più poveri, (e più malati), ogni volta che abbattiamo una pianta, che un bosco sparisce, che uccidiamo senza motivo una creatura vivente. Jane Goodall ci invita a considerare i lupi, e gli altri animali, come esseri senzienti, che sono capaci di provare gioia, dolore, paura, amore. E io penso: come noi, i lupi sono affettuosi e, all’interno del loro branco, si prendono cura gli uni degli altri; anche loro sono competitivi e territoriali, perciò difendono i propri confini, arrivando ad attaccare e uccidere se altri lupi estranei minacciano le loro terre; infine devono sfamarsi e nutrire la loro prole e per procacciarsi il cibo usano le armi di cui sono dotati: zanne, forza fisica, ma anche tanta intelligenza e flessibilità. Non mi sembrano poi tante le differenze rispetto al comportamento umano.

Indubbiamente la presenza del lupo è scomoda e in Europa, dove ormai il territorio naturale è stato quasi completamente modificato e addomesticato, questo problema è particolarmente sentito, però la soluzione non può essere il tentativo di eradicarli, cancellandoli dalla faccia della Terra. Il semplice buon senso ci dovrebbe suggerire che così facendo, creeremmo nell’ecosistema un pericoloso vuoto che potrebbe essere immediatamente colmato da un’altra specie o che potrebbe portare ad una perdita importante di equilibrio e di bilanciamento del “sistema natura”. Quindi ci si deve impegnare a cambiare atteggiamento, a cercare di dialogare con tutte le parti in causa, mettendo da parte i pregiudizi e le prese di posizione. Arroccarsi nella convinzione di essere dalla parte della ragione e pretendere che siano gli “altri” a dover cambiare opinione non porterà da nessuna parte. Ci vogliono volontà, umiltà e apertura mentale, per incontrarsi, guardarsi negli occhi, tenendo presente che ogni persona conta e può fare la differenza: chi ha il coraggio di cambiare, cambia il mondo. Solo un approccio empatico, intelligente e saggio ci aiuterà a trovare insieme una soluzione che porti alla convivenza pacifica di tutte le creature. Amo infine ricordare che ogni lupo è un individuo, con una sua storia, anche se spesso non c’è nessuno a raccontarla. Le loro sono storie di eroi senza medaglie, di difficoltà e rischi, di chilometri percorsi, di coraggio, di morte e di speranza. Storie di amore, di saggezza atavica, di nascondigli, di aria e di stelle ululate, storie magiche da leggere nel profondo dei loro occhi. Facciamo in modo che la fiamma verde, quella che Aldo Leopold vide in quello sguardo, non si estingua.
Brunella