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Wolf Wisdom


By all rights, there should be a collective regard for the wolf, a concerted effort to honor and protect it for all the blessings derived from its issue.

A wonderful thing about a blog is that you can post on whatever moves you. Today I have been incited by a wolf photo.

The picture is of a hunter proudly holding up the massive head of a black wolf he has just killed up in Minnesota. One of my southern cousins sent the picture to a family mailing list with the question, “Why would you kill such a magnificent animal?” Unless it was doing harm, he added, and it probably wasn’t in the Minnesota wilderness.

Late Gray Wolf 832F, Left

Interesting that I would discover this email just minutes after I had read an article on the killing of the beloved alpha female (832F) of the Lamar Canyon pack in Yellowstone. A favorite of tourists for nearly six years, she wore a collar and was being tracked by scientists when she strayed outside the park’s boundaries. I guess she wasn’t briefed on the boundaries.

This morning I discovered a third wolf image in an email invitation featuring the head of Gracie, the half-wolf rescued by a friend. A beautiful, white, rangy creature, Gracie has golden eyes that somehow remind me of every stupid thing I have ever done. Brought into the world by one of those misguided breeders who should be shut down, she is neither dog nor wolf and uneasy in between.

So when you see the third wolf image, it’s time to start writing.

My teeth have been on edge ever since seeing the hunting image, and I fired off an email (forgetting to note that “Think!” reminder attached to my screen) expressing my indignation at trophy hunting in general, which removes the most magnificent specimens from the gene pool. And wolf killing bothers me, period. I find it hard to believe that a person would not be moved by that noble visage, and anyone who has ever loved a dog should consider that the wolf is the progenitor of them all. And this takes me back to the whole subject of breeding.

Human beings are really peculiar in many respects. Over the last 15,000 years or so, we have been selectively breeding descendants of the gray wolf until we now have over 150 dog types with distinctive characteristics, all the way from the Great Dane to the Chihuahua. By all rights, there should be a collective regard for the wolf, a concerted effort to honor and protect it for all the blessings derived from its issue.

At the same time, humans have also excelled in cultivating and advancing the most outstanding characteristics of all kinds of livestock—horses, cows, sheep, goats, on and on. And yet we ourselves continue to breed rather indiscriminately –unless we are members of the nobility–passing on whatever characteristics when the rising sap finds a bucket, so to speak. Outside of a loving marriage, I mean. Where is that “Think!” note?

Of course this is the observation of an elder whose sap is now dominated by the brain, but just think where humanity would be if we were more prudent worldwide in our mating patterns. And especially now that we have so much information about how pregnancy happens and how to control it, we could do a whole lot better.

That would begin, of course, with endowing women with both the freedom and the responsibility to breed purposefully. And if I were the boss of all this, I would say that the responsibility first and foremost is to bring only the number of children into the world that you can provide for and, secondly, refuse to pass on the genes of violence. Don’t have anything to do with a man who is violent, much less mate with him; and if he forces you, move within the next 24 hours—and hopefully someday with society’s full support—to ensure that fertilization is forestalled.

And for the benefit of all those ranchers who feel that their cattle are threatened by wolves, we should pass legislation subsidizing non-beef-production. All that beef eating is making us hugely obese and costing a fortune in medical care from complications of heart disease. Reduced cattle production would naturally help control the wolf population. Unlike us, they eat only what they kill, and that discipline keeps them fit and their numbers under control.

So there are my thoughts on wolves and selective breeding. Please feel free to disseminate this link wholesale.



3 Responses to “Wolf Wisdom”

  1. Michelle Mosser

    The Lamar Canyon wolf was far more regal, handsome and valuable to our earth…than the subhuman who shot him down. Bless his ignorant misguided seemingly worthless soul.

    We should send him a copy of LOBO, the great documentary about the wolf hunter turned naturalist, Ernest Seton. He had the benefit of experiencing his awakening at the end of the 19th century. Here’s the PBS piece on Seton and Lobo.


    Thank you Ellen for your conviction…Gracie sees your courage!

  2. Kathy Horrigan

    The photo of the Lamar Canyon wolf – even the second viewing – just broke my heart. What beauty! So glad you wrote this. Perhaps this is how females can stop war – just refuse those genes.

  3. Barbara McCarthy

    Oh, Ellen – this is a wonderful piece. I SO agree with you. WE are infringing on the wolves’ territory – get the cattle out of THEIR range! We give wolves and other wildlife very little chance to exist – what with all our boundaries and rules and opinions about who belongs where!