‘I am essential’…

I am one of the most misunderstood mammals in the world. An efficient predator, I have been erroneously characterized as evil in folklore, movies and books.

You see me as an indiscriminate killer and a threat to human existence. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am essential.

In interacting with humans, I prefer to quietly disappear and avoid all contact. In cases of hurtful and lethal situations, they are due to misguided actions of the person. Yet, I am maliciously gunned down for sport, sometimes from helicopters and planes, in the guise of protecting game animals. I am essential.

Many would have you believe I have a detrimental impact on prey species. Some tout I will wipe them out if I am not controlled. If this were the case, would I not have caused their extinction long before humans became more numerous than I?

I actually weed out the sick, the old and the young, decreasing numbers to prevent starvation. This strengthens the herds, not the opposite. I am essential.

I am a loving member of my family unit. I care for the young and staunchly protect those I consider my own. Is this any different from your own family? I am essential.

I am a wolf. I am essential.

Why should you care there in Georgia, so far removed from where I live? We are all part of the same cycle, the same world. The Cree Indians of Canada sum it up nicely.

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

Editor’s note:

Gene Harmon’s passion for wolves stemmed from when he was younger, and his work with Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Denali National Park and Preserve, Defenders of Wildlife and the National Parks & Conservation Association were pieces of kindling thrown on a fire that has burned for decades.