Her friends are drifting apart. Her children are without their mother. Her fans are distraught; she had been an inspiration.
Her name was 832F and she was killed because she was a wolf.
Maybe you've read one of the obituaries already published for her. She was exceptionally well known as the Alpha female of the Lamar Canyon wolf pack in Yellowstone National Park. Tourists and scientists followed her avidly, "renowned" as she was "for her size and strength." Killing on her own, with the pack, caring for her cubs....by all accounts she was as successful as a member of a formerly threatened species can be.
Formerly threatened, here, meaning that 100 wolves in the Yellowstone area is plenty, so let's delist them and then hunters outside the park boundaries can shoot as many as they'd like.
832F wore a collar that scientists used for research and tracking of the packs' patterns. She wasn't the first such wolf shot this year; reportedly, as many as seven, five with collars, have been killed in the area surrounding the park. Today, Montana Fish and Wildlife commisioners voted 4-1 to shut down hunting in that same area. Because you can always close the gate after the horse has escaped. And they don't want to fuck their tourism industry too badly.
There are people who would applaud the hunting of wolves. In my home state of Michigan, wolves are officially delisted as endangered species, though are still technically nongame animals. However, if a wolf happens to be "in the act of preying upon" your livestock or dog (read: it's on your property and omgz wolves are scary), you can kill it.
I imagine the burden of proof is not a huge one.
People are scared of wolves. They hunt and kill large prey, including livestock. They are in this for their own survival. And, because they're dangerous and scary, people like to kill them.
That doesn't make it ok.
832F deserves to be, if not a martyr, then a warning. Why were wolves on the endangered species list in the first place? Because people were afraid of them and reached for their guns in any situation in which they even saw a wolf. They were hunted down and mythologized as vicious animals that would rip your throat out if they had the chance. So we shot them, hung their pelts up, and boasted what big swinging dicks we had.
And now the potential for that same disaster is back. From the New York Times article above:
Mr. Fanning said that empathizing with wolves because of their supposedly human traits compares unfavorably with “what pagans did in ancient cultures.”Or perhaps, from the same article:
These are the kind of people that are winning right now. Not the scientists who invested thousands of dollars in these animals, not the people who realize that populations can actually, who would have thunk it, regulate themselves, but people who believe that wolves are pests or threats.Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, likened the admiration for 832F to romanticizing “a psychotic predator stalking Central Park and slitting the throats of unwary visitors.”
Don't let them frame the conversation. Don't allow them to slander these animals.
Don't forget 832F.