Defending wolves and worldviews


I like wolves. As a child, I loved the book “Julie of the Wolves” and as an adult I enjoyed the anime “Wolf’s Rain.”

Wolves are some of the least understood of the predators that humans have pitted themselves against over the ages, others being sharks, bears, and large cats. One of the main reasons is that they compete with humans for resources. These predators won’t usually outright attack humans unless threatened, but humans will and have killed them in scores because of food and resources. This makes it extra difficult to make the case for their conservation in the face of endangerment and extinction.

I received this poster and bumper sticker in the mail yesterday from Defenders of Wildlife, along with a letter and fliers asking me to donate to the organization with the added incentive of receiving a wolf photo book and/or aluminum water bottle.

I have supported them with a donation in the past, but I am doubtful whether I will give again.

I have a few reasons for this. The main one being that this type of physical mail is so gimmicky and quite annoying, that I do not want to encourage them to send me more by responding to it. I’m hoping that by ignoring their waste of paper (even if it is recycled paper), they will eventually stop it. It would be nice if there were a way to opt out of physical mailings and in place of that receive emails, but as far as I can tell from their website, there is no such thing.

But still, I hope that the people who are reached by their campaigns truly consider conservation more seriously than the pamphlets suggest. The materials could be more informative, but I understand that the species-focus has been one of the most successful strategies.

This is where a more scientifically literate society would be very different. Conservation groups would not have to take the single species or simple issue angle in order to garner public support.

In areas of the world where most people live in and with the environment and accompanying wildlife, human culture has deeper understanding of the relationships of the ecosystems. We may not be able to return to that type of interaction with nature in this country, but perhaps with better incorporation of science into society we can achieve something similar.

This is what I hope to contribute to with my work!

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  1. Nat says

    I’m having trouble finding anything on the internet about it (perhaps his work predates the internet), but a cousin of mine has been extremely active in wildlife conservation, focusing with preserving the natural environment of wolves and trying to protect them from hunters. He’s lived with several wolves before and is quite the experienced world traveler. He later became a park ranger in Hawaii… not sure what he’s up to now. But anyway, this campaign reminds me of him.

    I’m not sure what I think about species-centric conservation as opposed to general conservation, but it seems like it makes it seem more possible, more feasible, when you’re only talking about protecting a single species. With all of the world’s man-made problems, “saving the Earth” can seem like a very daunting task to some, so daunting that it often results in total apathy. There are too many people who think “What difference can I make?” and end up doing nothing at all.

    By the way, your “Wolf’s Rain” link is linking to the page for “Wolf.”

    > I’m hoping that by ignoring their waste of paper
    > (even if it is recycled paper), they will
    > eventually stop it.

    I doubt that they would ever make the connection that paper mails are dissuading people from giving… though it’s true that if enough people ignore their mailings that they’ll consider them non-cost-effective and stop them. I’d recommend e-mailing defenders@mail.defenders.org and telling them directly to stop doing wasteful paper mailings. It might have more of an effect that way.