The Mighty Wolves of Wisconsin

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The wolf is back in a big way in Wisconsin, with more than 500 of the animals roaming the state’s northern regions where they were wiped out a half-century ago. And like many other states with growing wolf numbers, this resurgence is kicking up a heated discussion that has scientific, political, and social undertones. An article in Grow, the magazine of the University of Wisconsin’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, explores the balancing act faced by wolf biologists as they navigate this thicket of issues.

At Utne Reader, we’ve read plenty about the wolf boom further west in High Country News and other sources. And Minnesota, where we’re based, is no stranger to the discussion since Wisconsin’s wolves came from packs in Minnesota, where there are several thousand wolves. Still, the Grow article, by Erik Ness, is a fascinating read full of thought-provoking quotes from wolf researchers. Among them:

— “Not only do [wolves] not require wilderness, they will live absolutely everywhere. As long as you don’t kill them, or hit them with a car, and there are enough deer, they’re fine. And of course, sometimes things substitute for deer.”

— “The people who accept these large predators are often the people who don’t live near them.”

— “Like a like of natural resource issues, the agenda is set by the people who scream the loudest.”

— “The fact that wolves made it back on their own into Wisconsin, into a place inhabited by and used by people, gives me more hope for the places I work in the rest of the world where there isn’t a big pristine place to put wildlife in.”

Sources: Grow, High Country News, International Wolf Center

Image by Tambako the Jaguar, licensed under Creative Commons.

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