This is both thrilling and depressing all at the same time. The San Francisco Chronicle reported several days ago (on December 30th, actually) that a wolf crossed over into California for the first time in 85 years - since they were extirpated from the state (although I wonder about individuals who might have migrated undetected). Apparently the individual crossed over from Oregon where they have 4 packs living with over two dozen individuals total. This particular individual is known to researchers as OR7.
Unfortunately, the California Cattle Ranchers Association spoke out loudly in opposition to the very thought of the wolf. Jack Hanson, Treasurer of the California Cattle Ranchers Associate was quoted by the Chronicle as saying "If there were no regulations, our family would shoot them on sight so that they did not multiply." . . . Wonderful.
The thought of trying to educate people with this kind of knee-jerk anti-wolf reaction makes me despair. Would anyone who's so against a species without having ever lived around them ever be willing to listen to science and reason? I know the answer is yes, because there are ranchers out west who are working with conservationists to try to find a middle ground around the wolf issue. And I know attitudes and opinions can change, but it's so depressing to hear people talk in black and white terms ("no wolves - ever!!") about an issue that is far more nuanced. The very health of the Earth we live on - and that these people rely on for their living - must be considered. And as I've said before, top-level predators are critical to ecosystem health.
The lack of a big-picture view on our natural world is a pressing problem - everyone is so wrapped up in their "stuff" and consumed with making money that they can't be bothered worrying about the health of our planet ("Don't you tell me that I can't let my oversized SUV sit and idle while I stroll inside to pick up my kids from day care and chat away with people while my car pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere - you're infringing on my personal right to destroy the earth!"). But every single one of us - rich or poor - will suffer the consequences of the damage humans are doing. Doesn't anyone besides us conservationists and greenies (or heaven forbid, liberals) give a sh**t about the quality of life we're passing down to our children and grandchildren? I know I do. Greed and consumerism disgust me. And it seems to be the only thing that motivates the majority of our politicians these days. It makes you wonder how we're supposed to effect larger-scale change that benefits everyone.
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