The world's view on wolves today

Discuss wolves (news, sightings, etc.).

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The world's view on wolves today

Post by Koa » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:47 pm

Hi everyone,
As apart of the suggestion thread I've started (http://www.wolfquest.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=68574), part of my goal as well as the goal shared by a few other members of this board is to create more discussion topics as opposed to just general, news-oriented threads.

So, with that being said, please, before participating in this discussion or venturing any further, remember to be civil on this thread. These kinds of discussion threads are not about proving who is right or who is wrong, but mainly to encourage healthy and substantial discussion regarding today's matters and views that surround wolves, so that others may take in and consider not just their own opinion, but fellow users' opinions as well.


The question : What do you think the world thinks of wolves today? Do you think the old myths about wolves being blood-thirsty creatures still exist en masse today, or do you think that a new, rather opposite yet extreme view on wolves has taken over, such as wolves being innocent, spectacular, and virtually above all other animals?

Realistically speaking, it is safe to say that both of these kind of views still exist today, but as time as passed and with the influence of more conservation groups, do you think that the view on wolves has switched to a mainly a more "fascinated" or "obsessed" side, contrasting with those of the past?

You can also consider the more factual misconceptions, as well. Does the internet contribute to much of the unrealistic and fantasy image of wolves? What about literature and other media? How might this tie in with both, more extreme views mentioned earlier? Does it, in your opinion, have an effect on those views or not?
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by alethe » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:50 pm

I believe that today people still fear wolves, but more and more people are starting to help. I think that most of the wolf related stuff on the Internet/media is more geared to either werewolves or to fantasy wolves with wings and powers and such, so it provides an unnatural and sometimes disturbing view at wolves, thus creating the false stareotype.


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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by Koa » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:56 pm

river6 wrote:I believe that today people still fear wolves, but more and more people are starting to help. I think that most of the wolf related stuff on the Internet/media is more geared to either werewolves or to fantasy wolves with wings and powers and such, so it provides an unnatural and sometimes disturbing view at wolves, thus creating the false stareotype.
I think you're right about "more and more people are starting to help" part, but I also think their help can be rather excessive sometimes and uneeded, or obsessive. There are many, many, creatures out there who need more help than the wolf in general. And even the gray wolf itself often takes the limelight from its subspecies who really need it, like the Mexican gray wolf. Sometimes I feel that the "help" is directed in the wrong places.

Mind elaborating on "false stereotype?"
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by alethe » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:01 pm

That's true. There are plenty more creatures that need help other than wolves.

One false stereotype would be that farmers think wolves will eat their cattle. Over the summer when I went to Mission: Wolf in Colorado, they told us that wolves will perfer to eat elk and horse meat rather than cow. Cow meat is actually very bad for wolves, and they will only eat it if it's the only thing to eat.

Another one would be the fact that people on the Internet now a days think that wolves have purple/red/green eyes naturally, they have wings/horns/jewelry or unnatural markings like flowers and stars, which of course isn't the case.


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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by Koa » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:24 pm

Wolves will prey on cattle and I don't blame the ranchers for thinking this, but I see your point. I know there was an article awhile back regarding how wolves in Germany preferred the smaller roe deers over large cattle, so that makes sense. Keep in mind wolves are also opportunistic feeders, so that is likely why ranchers are so worried about wolves, and as well as the risk that they lose some livestock, which then affects the future of their career in turn. If a wolf comes across cattle and hasn't found an easier meal, chances are they will take it or at least investigate the cattle.

I would hope people are wise enough to understand that purple and other, more non-plausible colors are pure fantasy overall. I can see and understand the ease for the general public mistaking blue-eyed wolves as realistic, given that a lot of people tend to associate huskies, who possess blue eyes, with wolves. Green can also be a bit tricky for some folks as well.

However, my concern centers around wolf hierarchy... "alpha" and similar terms are still used today to describe wild wolves, when in fact they really only apply accurately to captive wolves generally.
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by valkea » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:37 pm

I think the world's, or at least a large part of the population's view on wolves is a bit unfortunate, honestly. I don't see much of the belief that wolves are just bloodthirsty monsters, but I do see people "obsessed' with wolves. The problem with this obsession is that many people don't bother to learn much about wolves, they just think they're "pretty" and as such are innocent, loving creatures who would do no harm to any living thing. Now, I agree that wolves are beautiful animals, but I don't like the belief that they're innocent, sweet animals who wouldn't hurt a fly. I mean, they're carnivorous animals. They have to kill to survive, unless scavenging is an option. I don't really see either of those things as "innocent".

I think the real problem is a strange unwillingness amongst many "wolf lovers" to find out more about wolves. I don't really see a reason why more people aren't educated about wolves, considering we live in an age where you can just go to google, type in "wolves", and find plenty of information. That information may not be accurate, true, but I think a lot of it would be better than people thinking that harmless blue-eyed wolves are realistic.

I hope this post made sense.
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by Koa » Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:50 pm

Hidden Phoenix wrote:I think the world's, or at least a large part of the population's view on wolves is a bit unfortunate, honestly. I don't see much of the belief that wolves are just bloodthirsty monsters, but I do see people "obsessed' with wolves. The problem with this obsession is that many people don't bother to learn much about wolves, they just think they're "pretty" and as such are innocent, loving creatures who would do no harm to any living thing. Now, I agree that wolves are beautiful animals, but I don't like the belief that they're innocent, sweet animals who wouldn't hurt a fly. I mean, they're carnivorous animals. They have to kill to survive, unless scavenging is an option. I don't really see either of those things as "innocent".

I think the real problem is a strange unwillingness amongst many "wolf lovers" to find out more about wolves. I don't really see a reason why more people aren't educated about wolves, considering we live in an age where you can just go to google, type in "wolves", and find plenty of information. That information may not be accurate, true, but I think a lot of it would be better than people thinking that harmless blue-eyed wolves are realistic.

I hope this post made sense.
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I agree with you, mainly. However, I think the reason why many of people tend to not "research" wolves is human nature itself. As humans, generally the majority of us can all agree that we're more inclined to go off something heard than research it further, right? Going off what you see and what you hear is easier than digging under the surface, but often it leads to a lot of inaccurate assumptions. On a more ground level, think about gossip circulation. Then go to media and how it shapes our world's politics (how much information do you pick up by just sitting next to a T.V. without having to pay much attention?) and how people intake the media, yet not many of us tend to go beyond the media.

Sadly, with our culture today, and while we may have a lot of access to things, we're more inclined to center ourselves with what comes easiest to us than to waste time. So, let's say someone may not watch a lot of T.V. or read literature yet they center their interests on the internet. I've adapted a rountine to the sites I check and surf, and I think we can all agree we all share some kind of rountine when we visit the internet. Going back to "what comes easiest to us" point, naturally we'll visit the sites we visit the most, and chances are we're not going to consider researching something we like. We'll just partake in the activities and interests we like and are concerned with, but if there's no reason to go beyond that, why do it? That is my take on the mindset a lot of people probably adopt. They don't have to research something, so sadly, they likely won't. In turn, it is very difficult to dispell the myths about wolves because wolves do receive a lot of attention, both from "their fans" who aren't very inclined to research them, and the overall media hype alike.
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by calxmity » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:19 pm

I believe that the world still believes that wolves are bad creatures. They kill livestock for 'fun.' The only way I know this is because I live nextdoor to a farmer; he thinks the wolves that live around us (rarely do I see them) are killing them for fun. Wolves dont kill to kill, they kill to feed. If they were to kill for fun, what would be of them today?
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by Koa » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:53 pm

Lit wrote:I believe that the world still believes that wolves are bad creatures. They kill livestock for 'fun.' The only way I know this is because I live nextdoor to a farmer; he thinks the wolves that live around us (rarely do I see them) are killing them for fun. Wolves dont kill to kill, they kill to feed. If they were to kill for fun, what would be of them today?
Actually, wolves do partake in what is called "surplus killing," primarily when prey may be abundant. Wolves again are very opportunistic, so that is a possible factor as to why.
In the extreme case, during severe winters of exceptionally deep snow (>/=70 cm), excessive or surplus killing of deer by wolves, characterized as multiple kills made over short distances and brief periods of time with less than complete or no consumption, has been documented (Mech et al. 1971, DelGiudice 1998). Deteriorating condition of deer as winter progresses and impedence of deer move ments by deep snow that is less supportive of deer than wolves have been implicated as primary factors contributing to this phenomenon (Mech et al. 1971, DelGiudice 1998). Surplus killing of prey under certain environmental conditions has been documented for a wide variety of predators (Kruuk 1972).
http://www.wolf.org/wolves/learn/wow/re ... ation3.asp

The same could likely apply to cattle in mentioned conditions, too. In short, wolves can and do kill when unnecessary; they are merely predators and cannot rationalize like humans can. So, I can understand your neighbor's worry.

The misunderstanding amongst people who associate themselves with wolves, whether as a rancher defending his or her livestock or a conservationist, can contribute to the lack of understanding of wolves as a whole, too.
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by La Striata » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:47 am

I personally believe that the wolf has had a mostly positive image since the late 70s, which culminated in the 1990s during the hysteria over the Yellowstone reintroduction. The hatred for wolves which still persists is largely overshadowed by the massive online and real-life presence of powerful pro-wolf groups and lobbies. The about-turn from one extreme view on the wolf's nature to another has been incredible, and perhaps necessary... but quite frankly I think it has gone too far.

I recall a time (primarily before the 2005 tragedy in Saskatchewan) when saying anything less than complimentary about wolves on the internet was tantamount to what I can only describe as "blasphemy". Wolf advocates seemed to genuinely believe that in order to prevent the wolf from being hated and exterminated again, the species had to be deified, and put an anathema on anyone who's view on wolves was anything less than affectionate. I consider this a great failure. The de-demonisation of wolves should have resulted in them being viewed as simply another member of our fauna, to be conserved and managed as any other species. Instead, what we ended up with was a personality cult which. Since the publication of The Fear of Wolves and Wolves in Russia, as well as blogs run by rural people who live with these animals, I think this adulation of wolves has had serious consequences: it has pretty much discredited the wolf advocacy lobby, which continues to shift blame for the wolf's misdeeds and insists on giving it special treatment. With this fact in mind, it is no wonder the ranchers, hunters and wolf realists have started viewing groups like "Defenders of Wildlife" and "Howling4Justice" as liars. I'm thankful the internet is present to show the other side of the story, as that wasn't possible (and was also dangerous on a professional level) 30 years ago: I recall a case where pro-wolf groups in Norway successfully demanded the (illegal) destruction of all copies of a wolf book translated from Russian describing the problems and dangers posed by wolves.

I am however optimistic that the "euphoria" phase of wolf love is coming to an end. It is tragic that it has taken two human fatalities to bring some wolf advocates back to earth, but I predict a time when David Mech's dream of the wolf being treated and respected as simply another animal species becoming a reality.
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by Nordue » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:43 am

What do you think the world thinks of wolves today?
  • This is a very broad question in my opinion. The 'world' encompasses many different people and cultures, each with their own view on the wolf. It can be seen as a resource, a pest, an inspiration, a subject of study or something one simply reads about, but never sees.

    I think essays could be written on this question, to be honest. To try and summarize the opinion of billions of people and thousands of cultures into one little wimpy paragraph is next to impossible :lol: ! So instead of narrowing my scope down to just Western-thinking societies like some of you have already done, I'll keep this answer broad and go into more depth in the next question.
Do you think the old myths about wolves being blood-thirsty creatures still exist en masse today, or do you think that a new, rather opposite yet extreme view on wolves has taken over, such as wolves being innocent, spectacular, and virtually above all other animals?
  • Yes I do, to the extent of my limited knowledge about other cultures. I think that view exists in both modern cultures and primitive ones, although for different reasons (misguided education by the media vs. legends with lessons). I also think the other extreme exists, but predominantly in Western cultures where interaction with wolves is limited to conservation areas, zoos and at the very least, the media. Western society presents a view of the wolf which is one of fragility and exclusiveness. True, the number of wolf populations in the United States has dwindled, but gray wolves as a species are still widespread in other countries. It depends a lot on the perspective of the person you asking; some people think of the wolf as one species, while others think in terms of many diverse subspecies. The viewpoint one has has a dramatic affect on how one views wolves and their general importance. I would say the former (one species) is the most common in Western society, only because wolves have little impact on the daily life of your average downtown Torontonian, for example.

    Why would people be expected to know accurate information about any animal that didn't affect their daily lives? That is one of the main reasons for the general lack of correct information on wolves: correct information on wolves isn't very useful to the average first world person. This community's interest in wolves is mainly fueled off of sheer interest, when you think about it. The vast majority of us will not make a living off of wolves either.

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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by _Denali_ » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:30 pm

Personally, I see wolves as some of the most wild and amazing animals to exist. Many people today love wolves, but some still need to learn more. This includes the Wisconsin ans Wyoming anti-wolf attitudes. For example, as Farley Mowat's "Never Cry Wolf" book proved, wolves do not hunt cattle, but they lived on rodents. Only when hunters stole the wolves' land, and their main food source, did the wolves begin to prey on cattle. They were basically forced to; they must survive, and people need to keep in mind that it was the wolves' world, before it was invaded by humans. So in my opinion, most people today are actualle educated and know the truth about wolves: they are the opposite of vicious, mindless, bloodthirsty creatures. Whenever someone blames the wolf for such things, I have to try to calmly explain to them without getting angry, which is very hard to do. Luckily, most people these days love wolves!

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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by La Striata » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:10 am

_Denali_ wrote:Personally, I see wolves as some of the most wild and amazing animals to exist. Many people today love wolves, but some still need to learn more. This includes the Wisconsin ans Wyoming anti-wolf attitudes. For example, as Farley Mowat's "Never Cry Wolf" book proved, wolves do not hunt cattle, but they lived on rodents. Only when hunters stole the wolves' land, and their main food source, did the wolves begin to prey on cattle. They were basically forced to; they must survive, and people need to keep in mind that it was the wolves' world, before it was invaded by humans. So in my opinion, most people today are actualle educated and know the truth about wolves: they are the opposite of vicious, mindless, bloodthirsty creatures. Whenever someone blames the wolf for such things, I have to try to calmly explain to them without getting angry, which is very hard to do. Luckily, most people these days love wolves!
Never Cry Wolf is a work of fiction. I suggest you delve deeper into this.
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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by alethe » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:50 am

I agree. I read Never Cry Wolf and the book itself seemed like plain fiction. It made wolves seem like humble creatures who only hunt the weak or sick, and even though they perfer weak or sick prey, they will also go after perfectly healthy animals.


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Re: The world's view on wolves today

Post by Okeda_Wolf » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:07 pm

Well I think it depends on who you are and where you live and what you read in the news today. In my own opinion, I think wolves are still feared, but not in a 'blood thirsty' way. Some people really hate the wolf, subspecies and other canids. I remember not too long ago our class did a poll on the wolf, and the majority of people thought that wolves should be put on the hunting list again, because they were killing cattle. There is literature that reveres and almost glorifies the animal, and actually, the first few books that came to my mind were the Twilight Saga and Raised By Wolves, both of which are about werewolves, not actual wolves. However, the affect on people after reading the book would be the glorification of wolves, or perhaps obsession would be a better word. I think perhaps the older generations today still really dislike the wolf, while the younger generations are all for saving the gray wolf, even though I do agree with what was said here, there are animals elsewhere, like the tiger, that need saving as well.
I don't really know what else to say, but I remember thinking the wolf was going to die out when I was younger. Now the world seems to be a little more focused on tigers/leopards/pandas or more 'exotic' animals. It seems to me that the scientists want to save the more exotic species of the world than ones like the Mexican Gray Wolf. Just my opinion on the topic. Not that I think the wolves should be taken on or off any lists. I think that maybe humans need to take a step back from the wildlife, even the the poachers, and let nature go its course. Just my opinion, mind you.
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