Today, as it has been for many weeks, the motion-sensing cameras are in place on trees in the forest. In the few small meadows in this remote stretch just east of the North Cascades, there are bait stations being set. The goal is to kill the wildness from our forests, by destroying the wolves: in this case, the remaining pups and a single female, which is all that remains of the once great Profanity Peak Pack.
Why is it that wildness and animals such as wolves must continue to be destroyed to maintain ignorance? We are witness to a killing that goes beyond a need, goes beyond logic and is filled with terror, suffering and pain for the wolves involved.
Yet, the most disturbing aspect of this killing is not the actions by the livestock industry; their behavior and guilt in this killing is something they wear like an escutcheon on their heart. It’s the actions of those organizations that view themselves as conservationists.
Let’s be clear, it is not the work of their organizers, or those that spend countless long hours in their offices. These are good hard working people, who care very deeply about conservation and wolves. It is the direction of their Boards of Directors and those that take leadership positions in organizations that are sanctioning the destruction of these animals. They include: Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Wolf Haven International and Conservation Northwest.
I mention these names again because like many people, I believe the following:
- The relationship between humans and wildlife is akin to a sacred trust. It is something in these times of massive exploitation of the earth we must take more seriously than ever;
- Animals feel pain and understand humans, that relationship should not be based on fear, but trust and in our case tremendous respect and responsibility for ensuring their co-existence;
- The protection of wilderness and the wildness that animals bring to wilderness is a gift to humanity, making it priceless;
- As conservationists, we more than any, have the moral obligation to fight for species and wildness, it is our core mission;
- Wolves are symbolic of all we hold dear about nature: wild nature. They are vital to maintaining balance and rewilding the lands that cattle have been placed into to subjugate that wildness, which represents our sprit and the earth in its purest form.
When organizations masquerade as defenders of wolves they must be called out. These groups want you to believe that by working within the system they are generating progress for wolves. The problem remains that this is a rigged system, one that does not understand or accept wildness, but defines land in terms of profit zones. Through such a lens, it sees ‘predators’ not balance or perfection. It allows the livestock industry to place cows in some of our wildest country so they can count the days to depredation. It Ignores pain and suffering and places an emphasis on compromise, which in this case means the savage killing of wolves.
Conservation groups that buy into this thinking are accepting from the start that wildness is somehow an abstraction. They see the killing of pups and animals in a systematic and cruel manner as the price for insider status, which helps give them fundraising superiority. Through these actions, we relinquish the moral high ground and give ranchers moral authority in negotiations.
You see, compromising and allowing the killing is the easy way out. Fighting and changing people’s opinion and understanding of wolves requires real organizing and education and will require holding a tough public stance.
There remains a real answer, but like many elections means people may have to accept not voting for the favorite, but committing to real systemic change. We can no longer allow wolves to be killed. We cannot contribute to organizations that continue to yield of the principles of wildness and species to the seduction of fundraising and the internal pressure of a sheltered group of Foundations that see only cooperation and compromise as the avenue for healthy wolf populations. We do not need mega-groups, just like we do not need factory farms. Such corruption is directly contributing to the current wildlife slaughter.
High in the east side of the cascades as the evening takes hold a lone female tries once again through shear will to feed the packs remaining pups, cameras follow her movements. This morning once again, a chopper will hover close by, sharpshooter waiting to make his kills. Historic estimates show that it will cost $200,000 to steal these vital lives; is this what we want for wolves? Is this making our lands healthier? The answer is simply we are continuing to feed the ignorance which has killed the spirit from our lands though these compromising actions.
Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Wolf Haven International and Conservation Northwest, the time have come to rethink your positions. You are now partners in the killing of innocents: the murder of wildness. The time has come to partner with those that seek a new vision for the West: one that involves rewilding, respect for all creatures and a vision for rural communities that goes beyond livestock. To get there will require passion, vision and a resolve that keeps the Profanity Peak pack alive in our collective hearts.