Imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of bluebird, greeting your mate with a warm snuggle and a lick on the nose.
Imagine your pup nourishing herself from your body, growing stronger with each drop you provide.
Imagine, leaping through a mountain meadow, in search of a mole or a rabbit to begin the day’s sustenance.
Now imagine — from out of nowhere comes a two-legged man, armed with a rifle, staring squarely at you, motionless and intent. Imagine your breath stopping as you stare back at him, partly in fear and partly in curiosity.
Imagine him pulling the trigger, and your life ends before the shot can be heard. Your mate bolts, your pups scatter, remaining pack members flee for their precious lives.
Your body is brutally hauled away by the two-legged man, cast over his horse or, even worse, onto his ATV, as you are carted away, lifeless and motionless, all for the price of $12 — all in the hatred of anti-wolf sentiment.
Idaho wolf hunting has begun. Montana will shortly follow suit. Wolves have been removed off of the Endangered Species List, along with their federal protection.
These wolves, reintroduced from Canada into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, have reestablished themselves in former landscapes from which they were extirpated.
Packs were thriving, social structures healthy, ecological balance being restored. Riparian corridors once overgrazed by complacent elk browsing lazily have seen positive recovery, coyote populations brought back into balance.
Wolves have complex social systems — anyone with a canine in their household can attest to the behavior of these sensitive, intelligent, feeling, sentient creatures — from cooperative hunting to pup rearing to mating for life.
Wolves have symbolized the wildness within, they have mirrored the landscape in all of its rich diversity. They have been revered as spiritual guides for many tribes, have taught them the ways of hunting.
They have also been the subject of the most violent, aggressive, malicious and inhumane treatment mankind could inflict upon another species — attempts to rid the landscape of wolves is nothing less than a rejection of our own internal wildness.
Without balancing out this kind of evil in our world, atrocious acts of unnecessary cruelty will continue and, in certain instances, will increase. Mankind continues to wage war on each other; must we allow yet another war to be waged on another specie?
Each time we allow our aggression and violence to fuel our fears of the unknown, we contribute to the aggression and violence in the world.
While we may not be personally pulling the trigger on that blessed wolf, we are tacitly supporting another doing so when we fall silent.