HOWL Colorado

The Big Bad Wolf Makes Good

[large thumbnail url=”the-big-bad-wolf-makes-good” filename=”editorial” year=”2010″ month=”09″ day=”30″] [thumbnail icon url=”the-big-bad-wolf-makes-good” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”09″ day=”30″] Excellent editorial that attempts to refocus away from political grandstanding and back on to the effect of wolves on their surrounding ecosystem.

At long last, good news. Fifteen years have passed since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and the results are in. The controversial experiment has been a stellar success. The Big Bad Wolf is back and in this modern version of the old story, all that huffing and puffing has been good for the land and the creatures that live on it. Biggie, it turns out, got a bum rap.

The success of the Yellowstone project is the kind of good news we long for in this era of oil spills, monster storms, massive flooding, crushing heat waves, and bleaching corals. For once, a branch of our federal government, the Department of the Interior, saw something broken and actually fixed it. In a nutshell: conservation biologists considered a perplexing problem — the slow but steady unraveling of the Yellowstone ecosystem — figured out what was causing it, and then proposed a bold solution that worked even better than expected.

Sadly, the good news has been muted by subsequent political strife over wolf reintroduction outside of Yellowstone. Along the northern front of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado, as well as New Mexico and Arizona, so-called wolf wars have added fuel to a decades-old battle over the right to graze cattle or hunt on public land. The shouting has overwhelmed both science and civil discourse. This makes it all the harder to convey the lessons learned to an American public that is mostly ecologically illiterate and never really understood why wolves were put back into Yellowstone in the first place. Even the legion of small donors who supported the project mostly missed the reasons it was undertaken, focusing instead on the “charismatic” qualities of wolves and the chance to see them in the wild.

Read the entire article on tomdispatch.com: The big bad wolf makes good

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