An endangered species in peril
Wolves are one of those animals who inhabit not only the material world, but mythological and cultural ones as well. Metaphorically, settler-colonial society warns of “the big bad wolf,” “the wolves at the door,” “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and “lone wolves.” In popular art, Duran Duran scored it big with “Hungry Like the Wolf,” Leonardo DiCaprio starred in, “The Wolf of Wall Street.” A little further back, Jack London wrote, “White Fang,” and Sergei Prokofiev composed, “Peter & the Wolf.” which is played in the intro of this episode.
First Nations in North America had much different traditions about Wolves, but it is European biases that led to their near extinction in what is now called the United States, and it is the policies of federal and state governments that now largely control the Wolf’s future, which is the theme of this podcast.
Our guest is Samantha Bruegger, the Wildlife Coexistence Campaigner for WildEarth Guardians, an organization that seeks to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the US American West. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from the University of California Riverside and a Master of Public Policy from Pepperdine. Her past work experience includes local government & business relations, public affairs and environmental policy. Focusing much of her career highlighting the economic impact of conservation, she connects the need for wildlife management reform to research on ethics, efficacy and government expenditures.
Samantha and I talked on January 13th and we discussed the recent and tragic federal de-listing of Wolves; the devastating effects of the Trump administration on the environment; how livestock trade organizations are more extreme than many of their member ranchers in terms of Wolf recovery; the failure of the feds to hold bad actors accountable; how Wolves are killed by state and federal gov’t agencies; the Animal Damage Control Act; compensation programs for livestock taken by Wolves; the successful Colorado referendum to reintroduce Wolves; Wolf policy at the state level; the danger of agricultural and residential rodenticides for wildlife; the Great Lakes Wolves; prairie ecosystems; the nomination of Native American Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary; non-lethal coexistence with Wolves in residential and agricultural contexts; and the work of WildEarth Guardians.