The Silent Cry of the Wolf: A Wake-Up Call for Humanity

The Silent Cry of the Wolf: A Wake-Up Call for Humanity

What has become of humanity? When did we start losing our sense of purpose and connection to our planet, Earth? Do we still believe that we are the sole inhabitants of this world? Why do we persist in thinking that we are superior to all other forms of life on Earth? These are questions that urge us to reflect on the chaos we, as humans, are inadvertently causing.

It's disheartening to consider that more than twelve wolf species are currently extinct, including the Japanese wolf, Hokkaido wolf, Cascade Mountains wolf, and Newfoundland wolf, just to name a few. Just a few days ago, the Iberian wolf was declared extinct in Andalucia, Spain, and many more wolf species are currently teetering on the brink of extinction. The Gray Wolf, for instance, is in great danger at this very moment.

There was a glimmer of hope when Americans elected President Biden, who expressed support for science-based conservation. However, despite these promises, the Biden Administration prioritizes special interests over science. In February 2022, a federal judge ordered the relisting of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act in much of the country, but this ruling doesn't extend protection to wolves in Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming, where 80% of wolf hunts occur. Even more disheartening, the administration has aligned itself with the NRA, Safari Club International, and other gun-rights groups by filing an appeal to overturn this order.

In 2020, there were roughly 6000 wolves in the contiguous United States. However, in 2021, hunters killed 1,000 of these wolves, which included 30% of Yellowstone's wolf population. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have enacted laws allowing hunters to target up to 90% of their state's wolf population, often blaming wolves for livestock losses, despite wolves being responsible for less than 1% of unwanted livestock deaths. These states even permit the baiting of wolves out of Yellowstone National Park, resulting in the tragic deaths of 25 protected Yellowstone wolves.

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Directed by Rain (Say Her Name/Somebody's Daughter) Narrated by Crystle Lightning (Trickster/Yellowstone)

The Grim Reality

What if, in the very near future, wolves become nothing more than distant memories, glimpsed only in old photographs and recounted in books? If we continue down this path, we may find ourselves showing our children nothing more than images of wolves, for they could become extinct. Where wolf howls will be just haunting echoes we hear in our hearts.

This grim reality we face results from our actions as humans. It makes us question what we have become, driven by what? Pride?

It is sickening to consider how we, as humans, commodify and exploit wolves. We treat them as a mere sport, killing them for amusement and the thrill of it. Why? In the United States alone, thousands of wolves are killed for sport.

Even more disturbing is the cruel and inhumane methods used: chokehold snares, and explosives, hunting them down in their dens, and chasing them with ATVs. All of this, for what purpose? To use them as trophies, to boast and gain bragging rights. In today's mainstream culture, there seems to be a narcissistic obsession with wolves, where people take pride in posing with them, using them as trophies to garner likes, views, followers, and applause. But for what?

Slaughters continue to permit unrestricted hunting of wolves on private lands across the state. Wolves meant to roam freely across vast landscapes in their ancestral homes are now being forced into captivity and even imported to countries where they are not native. It's all about pride and profit, with unscrupulous breeders contributing to the problem by creating wolfdogs for sale as exotic pets. These animals are often given away for adoption or sold when their owners can no longer care for them or no longer want them. It's a matter of pride and profit, fueled by a widespread misconception about wolfdogs—they are not dogs. I can personally attest to this as I work with them daily.

The list of grievances goes on and on, painting a bleak picture of how we, as humans, have treated Wolves and what we stand to lose if we do not change our ways.

The Profound Connection

This underscores humans' profound lack of understanding, revealing a significant gap in our knowledge about wolves.

Wolves hold a unique place—they are not just animals; they are our brothers, our teachers, and our guides. There's a reason why they are revered in mythology and ancient traditions. It's crucial to comprehend the deep significance of wolves in our human culture. They are an integral part of our shared existence, and we are intricately connected with them.

In the realm of biology, evolution is the process through which traits are passed from parents to their offspring, shaping the characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. Moreover, evolution encompasses the four fundamental and primal drives or instincts that animals, including humans, have evolved to possess: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and mating. So, what sets wolves apart from us?

The answer lies in recognizing that wolves serve as more than just animals; they are our teachers. They impart essential lessons to humanity about survival and coexistence, offering insights into the very core of our existence.

Wolves and Humans: Shared Bonds of Brotherhood and Family

Throughout the annals of time, a natural and profound connection has existed between humans and animals. This connection is marked by a subtle form of communication, discernible only when we are in their presence. For both wolves and humans, it revolves around the principles of brotherhood and family.

 “Male bonding is a process with biological roots to the establishment of alliances necessary for group defense and hunting.” Lionel Tiger 

It nurtures bonds and fosters growth, as challenges are encountered and overcome. What sets wolves apart from us?

Humans and wolves share the remarkable attribute of upholding strong family structures and imparting knowledge to their offspring. Family is the cornerstone of their existence, much like it is for us. They operate as cohesive units, just as we do.

Wolves follow a lifelong system akin to human families. They educate their clans on the values of sharing, cooperation, and nurturing the young, passing this wisdom down through generations. This sheds light on the significance of the pack's leader, the Alpha. Whether in captivity or in the wild, it may exhibit slight variations, but its fundamental essence remains unchanged. They are mature individuals within the pack, possessing the knowledge, wisdom, and life skills to ensure the pack's well-being. Their primary concern is the pack's welfare, guiding it with intelligence, determination, strength, heart, and courage, employing strategic leadership. They lead by example, thinking on their feet, demonstrating grace and integrity, fostering a calm environment, and garnering the respect of the pack. They serve as sources of inspiration and influence for all other wolves.

The Alpha female, also known as the "mom" or Luna Wolf in some cases, plays a pivotal role in the pack, particularly in breeding and nurturing new cubs. She is the dominant female, maintaining order among other females, and actively participating in hunting.

The Importance of Family

The importance of family is deeply ingrained in the human experience, as evidenced by surveys that reveal the centrality of family in people's lives. Families provide emotional closeness and support, and while family structures may evolve, the fundamental values remain intact. Family is a universal institution, fosters stability, security, bonding, and a sense of belonging. It imparts values, guides us during challenging times, and encourages economic stability. Happy families contribute to happier societies and nations, and they offer vital advice when needed most. Families also connect us to our genetic heritage, ancestral ties, and the stories, experiences, and memories that shape us. During tough times, families exemplify the value of solidarity, teaching us to stand together and weather life's storms. Positive family ties have a positive impact on mental health and play a critical role in shaping our ability to form relationships and love.

In the world of wolves, we find the foundation of family and pack, demonstrating a deep bond akin to our own. It prompts us to consider a fundamental question: How would we feel if someone took the life of our child or a member of our own family? This is precisely how a wolf feels when one of their own is killed.

Imagine witnessing your own sibling, shot right before your eyes, while all you sought to do was provide for your family. It raises a poignant question about the extent to which humanity can become heartless and devoid of emotion. Such actions reflect cowardice, whereas true humanity entails leadership and providing for one's pack, and one's family.

The Wisdom of Wolves

Wolves embody qualities such as independence, freedom, and primal instinct, which lie at the very core of our deepest desires.

They offer us invaluable insights into their unyielding determination and their remarkable endurance. From them, we can extract lessons in strength, unwavering loyalty, and the essence of community. Wolves lead by example, teaching us about unity, the essence of family, and the qualities of leadership. Their connection to deities and spirits imparts profound wisdom about life and the cosmos. With resolute courage and unwavering determination, they confront challenges head-on, emphasizing the importance of trusting our instincts.

Within Native American cultures, a wealth of knowledge was passed down through the generations. They sought to emulate the pack structure and the remarkable attributes of wolves. In this simulation, each individual within the pack or family was assigned a particular role, and this role consistently prioritized the collective well-being of the group. They meticulously observed even the smallest details, such as how wolves navigated thin ice without breaking through or experiencing a rapid loss of body heat. These shared concerns were significant for both the First Nations and the wolf populations. Across various cultures, wolves were not deified, but rather, they were cherished as siblings and equals. Wolves were regarded as potent allies, embodying qualities of intelligence, cooperation, and survival skills.

Ecosystem Stewards

Wolves occupy a pivotal role in sustaining the overall health of our ecosystems, holding the esteemed status of "keystone species." Within the environments they inhabit, wolves wield substantial influence.

The absence of any single plant or animal within these intricate ecosystems can trigger a chain reaction of repercussions, resulting in ailments and imbalances across the entire animal kingdom and beyond. When wolves are reintroduced, research demonstrates their remarkable capacity to breathe new life into struggling ecosystems. They enhance habitats and bolster populations of numerous species, ranging from birds of prey to pronghorn antelope and even trout.

The mere presence of wolves exerts a significant influence on the population and behavior of their prey, altering the feeding and grazing habits of these animals and their movement across the terrain. Consequently, these changes cascade through plant and animal communities, often reshaping the landscape itself. This is why wolves are characterized as "keystone species" whose existence is indispensable for preserving the health, structure, and equilibrium of ecosystems. Wolves exert both direct and indirect impacts on their environment.

Wolves play a crucial role in ecosystems by targeting weaker individuals among elk and deer, allowing the fittest to thrive. Their leftover carcasses provide sustenance for various scavengers. Additionally, wolves have reshaped elk herds, aiding vegetation recovery along waterways, benefiting beavers and aquatic life, and improving trout habitats. Wolves also control coyote populations, boosting rodent numbers, which in turn helps birds of prey, and reduces predation on pronghorn antelope calves.

The study of such trophic cascades has illuminated a fundamental truth: when any element of an ecosystem undergoes modification, the cumulative consequences of that change may not manifest immediately, but they can extend far and wide, affecting organisms of all sizes and the natural forces that shape our world. In essence, everything in the ecosystem is intricately interconnected.

With an understanding of how wolves play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of our ecosystems, which is essential for preserving ecosystem health, structure, and balance, we find ourselves engaged in an ongoing debate.

Wolves and Livestock

In many instances, it is convenient to lay blame on wolves for posing a threat to the livestock industry. Conversely, in other scenarios, we find ourselves in the company of villagers, livestock producers, and herders who are striving to secure their sustenance. The key question that arises is how to address this complex issue.

The indiscriminate shooting and killing of wolves will not offer a sustainable solution. Lethal removal of wolves may temporarily alleviate conflicts but often fails to address the underlying causes of livestock depredation. Additionally, wolves tend to reestablish themselves in the same areas, perpetuating the cycle of loss unless the root causes are tackled.

Countless practical approaches are available to mitigate this debate. Non-lethal methods provide viable options for addressing livestock depredation. Implementing non-lethal tools such as range riders, fladry (creating a perimeter of colorful flags around livestock), strobe lights, and loud noises has proven effective in reducing interactions between livestock and wolves. It is worth noting that wolves can become habituated to non-lethal tools over time. Therefore, proactive measures, like the removal of bone piles, can further minimize livestock losses to wolves. There are even instances where people have recorded wolf territory howling and played these recordings on their property, successfully deterring wolves from trespassing and leaving livestock unharmed.

For further insights into employing non-lethal tools and methods to reduce conflicts between livestock and wolves, you can refer to the following guide:

Livestock and Wolves: A Guide to Nonlethal Tools and Methods to Reduce Conflicts.

This guide offers insights into how to ensure the safety of wolves in a manner that is economically viable. It emphasizes the importance of tailoring solutions to specific circumstances, providing practical guidance on addressing the root causes of wolf depredation while safeguarding both livestock and wildlife. The guide encompasses non-lethal tools, methods, and strategies that have proven effective, accompanied by real-life examples of successful solutions devised through collaboration among livestock producers, agency managers, and researchers. It also outlines key factors for consideration when evaluating one's own livestock operation and provides eight examples of different approaches along with their benefits and limitations. This guide serves as a foundational resource.

It is crucial to recognize that seeking help and collaboration within the community can lead to positive outcomes. Wolf management professionals can assist in evaluating and customizing non-lethal control measures to specific situations. The opportunities and knowledge available are boundless, and where there is determination, there is a path forward.

Returning to the point I made at the outset, Native Americans regarded wolves as brothers and powerful allies, embodying qualities of intelligence, cooperation, and survival instincts. They inherited a wealth of wisdom from wolves, knowledge that was passed down through generations. The wolf's ability to protect its territory from external threats was a skill that Native Americans understood well.

The question arises: Why can't we revisit these native beliefs and invest time in closely observing how wolves thrive? Numerous stories recount how wolves reciprocate the favor by aiding us in our pursuit of thriving, highlighting the potential for collaborative efforts between our species and evolving together as brothers and family. It all comes back to the fundamental principle of respect, which is a deep understanding shared by both wolves and humans alike.

Eyes of the WolfPhoto by Morne Bezuidenhout

When you look into the eyes of a wolf, you'll be met with a profound sensation of connection, unity, family, brotherhood, wisdom beyond the measurement of reality, and intelligence—qualities that many of us, as humans, are still striving to fully comprehend.

It becomes evident that we and wolves share a fundamental kinship. Without wolves, our entire ecosystem and evolutionary journey would suffer.

The power to make this critical decision rests in your hands.

Will we howl together with them on Earth as equals, or will their howls be just haunting echoes we hear in our hearts?

Take action and visit today, lending your voice in support of relisting wolves on the Endangered Species List.

This is my voice and my howl,

Wolf Girl



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