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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dr. Paul Paquet with profound and deeply moving prose sums up the problem that we have with State Wildlife Agencies and the negatively skewed management paradigms that they have in place to "manage" Carnivores.............."Most government agencies have adopted policies skewed towards preserving opportunities for recreational killing rather than conservation or preservation of ecological integrity".......... Ignoring biology and the intrinsic value of species"........., "Wildlife agencies have resolutely judged wolves as animals in need of management, adopting policies that treat them as a problem, rather than as respected members of the biological community"......."This traditional management ethic favors an anthropocentric view that humans are an exceptional species and, aside from their utility for humans, other species are of little or no consequence in the large scheme of things"........ "In traditional wildlife management, human domination over nature is the natural order...........Nature is a commodity that is owned, and used by people in pursuit of personal interests............

A Debate  About Wolf Hunting and Trapping "2013
 International Wolf Symposium 12 October 2013
Why does it matter?

P.C. Paquet

History has demonstrated clearly that societal values and 
 needs ultimately determine the treatment and often survival 
of species such
 as the wolf. Appropriately, public sensitivity to the killing of
 all large predators
 has now made
any killing of wolves a contentious issue and placed 
management agencies
under intense scrutiny.

With notable exceptions such as parks, the management
 philosophy and policies
of most government agencies are narrowly directed towards
 treating wolves as a
"resource" to kill. Most government agencies have adopted
 policies skewed
towards preserving opportunities for recreational killing rather
 than conservation
or preservation of ecological integrity. Ignoring biology and the 
intrinsic value of
species, wildlife agencies have resolutely judged wolves as
 animals in need of
management, adopting policies that treat them as a problem,
 rather than as
respected members of the biological community.

Red Wolf in North Carolina

This traditional management ethic favors an anthropocentric view
 that humans
are an exceptional species and, aside from their utility for humans,
 other species
are of little or no consequence in the large scheme of things. In
wildlife management, human domination over nature is the natural
 order. Nature
is a commodity that is owned, and used by people, in pursuit of

Management strategies regarding wolves in North America range
 from full
protection to hunting and control. The lethal strategies are supported
 by efficient
technologies (e.g., aircraft hunting, poisoning, and snowmobile hunting).
idea that wolves can affect mortality rates and densities of their prey
provided much of the basis for killing wolves. Some government 
wolves to reduce real and perceived conflicts between wolves and
Wolves are also killed by recreational hunters and commercial
 trappers. The
primary motivation of this recreational trophy hunting is gratuitous
 killing for
pleasure. Likewise, commercial trapping is done for profit but the
 method of
capture and killing causes intense suffering in wolves.\

On moral grounds, killing for pleasure or willing infliction of pain
 is highly
questionable behavior, considered aberrant and deviant by most 
Certainly, society has long recognized that taking pleasure in killing 
an animal or
knowingly inflicting pain are all "red flags" that signal the need for
intervention. This is especially true when the person has the 
cognitive maturity to
understand that what s/he is doing is wrong - and repeatedly 
does it anyway.
Many human activities harm wolves, both individuals and
 populations, in direct
and indirect ways. Direct effects include lethal culling, hunting,
poisoning, and the destruction of food supplies. Indirect effects 
include changes
to habitat or movement patterns that result in death or disrupt social

Importantly, harmful direct actions can have broader indirect
 effects. For
example, in animals like wolves, culling some individuals in a
 social group can
also cause indirect harms by disrupting the transfer of cultural 
and genetic
information between generations, and altering group stability 
and breeding
structures in the population. Although direct harms are more
 obvious and more
likely to attract public attention, both direct and indirect harms
 need to be
recognised as important determinants of animal welfare and
In making moral judgments, people tend to regard harm as 
more serious if it is
deliberate rather than unintentional. Both recreational and
 institutional killing of
wolves, for example, are viewed as more serious acts than 
unintentional killing.
Similarly, people may regard harm as less significant if done 
for a seemingly
worthwhile purpose. This is a slippery slope, however,
 because social and moral
justifications are often used to sanctify harmful practices
 by investing them with
worthy purposes. Disengagement of moral self-sanctions 
enables people to
pursue detrimental practices freed from the restraint of

Gray Wolf Pack attacking a Bison in Yellowstone

I think it is undeniable that we are harming wolves by knowingly
 inflicting physical
and psychological pain and suffering, which often results in their\
Sometimes we do this for our own pleasure, sometimes for dubious
reasons, but usually for reasons that are gratuitous and selfish.
Some of us are well-informed participants, deliberately pursuing
 harmful activities
that serve our own interests. We justify our behavior through moral
disengagement by switching off our conscience to exonerate and
 sanitize our
malpractice in the name of worthy causes. Others are uninformed 
or unmindful
bystanders. But all of us are accountable.

From an ethical perspective that considers the intrinsic value
 and welfare of
individual animals and populations, most killing of wolves is 
morally indefensible
and should be stopped.

Further, wildlife conservation aims to ensure that populations
 and species
survive, and that ecological and evolutionary processes continue. 
For evolution
to continue, however, individuals are important because natural 
selection acts on
individuals. Many subspecies of wolves have no evolutionary 
future because of
misguided lethal management practices that ignore the 
fundamentals of biology
and fail to consider individuals. Animal welfare, however,
 is concerned with the
well being of these individuals.

Accordingly, many conservationists and managers are
 embracing and
incorporating ethical considerations of animal welfare. 
Likewise, animal
welfarists who have direct connections to ecology and 
place are drawing upon
information from environmental research. The mutual 
recognition is that
although wildlife science and animal welfare constitute
 different paths to
knowledge, they are rooted in the same reality and affirm 
one another.

Dr. Paul Paquet is Senior Scientist and Carnivore
 Specialist with the Raincoast
Conservation Foundation &; Science Advisory
 Board Member of Project Coyote. He is an
 internationally recognized authority on mammalian 
carnivores, especially wolves,
 with research experience in several regions of the world

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