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The Magnificent Wolf


Ruthlessly, the wolf is being hunted down and destroyed.
It could be a costly and devastating mistake.

The Dog Files has done an excellent online video about wolves.
Meet their beautiful white wolf who “sings,” and learn about
the magnificence of and our kinship with, wolves.

You can click on the image above to go to their website.

Their wolf episode video is below:

From Aldo Leopold:

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes.”

I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain.

I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise.

But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.

Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves.

I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails.

I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn.

Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise.

In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers.

I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer.

And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades.

So also with cows.

The cowman who cleans his range of wolves does not realize that he is taking over the wolf’s job of trimming the herd to fit the range. He has not learned to think like a mountain.

Hence we have dustbowls, and rivers washing the future into the sea.

We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness.

The deer strives with his supple legs, the cowman with trap and poison, the statesman with pen, the most of us with machines, votes, and dollars, but it all comes to the same thing: peace in our time.

A measure of success in this is all well enough, and perhaps is a requisite to objective thinking, but too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run.

Perhaps this is behind Thoreau’s dictum: In wildness is the salvation of the world.

Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men."

~ Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like a Mountain

Thanks to Suzanne Stone, MyYellowStone Wolves

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2 Responses to “The Magnificent Wolf”

  1. May I use the wolf picture on my website and link to your site?

  2. Hi Beverly,

    Yes, and thank you for asking. : ) That would be fine. Thank you for the link!