A wolf was shot outside the protected boundaries of Yellowstone. It was the “most famous wolf in the world” according to numerous news reports. (We will stake the Big Bad Wolf in any lupine fame fight, but that’s another story.) Is this a tragedy?
Yellowstone biologist and Decade of the Wolf author Douglas Smith thinks so, but it may not be going too far to say Smith was in love. “People in this world today crave something real, and our society is lacking that and they could come to Yellowstone and see real nature unfolding in front of their eyes,” he said in response to the killing. Leaving aside the fact that people see a lot of real–ask a Sandy survivor–it’s true that tourists relish the opportunity to watch the wolves in this habitat, where they are protected from predators. That whole thing about a wolf baying at the moon? If you’ve ever heard that sound you’ll never forget it. But if a wolf left the park, could it kill? Surely. If you lived near the park would this alarm you? The evidence is in: locals have changed laws to allow hunting and the killing is up significantly. Do you remember when nobody in Australia believed that a dingo killed that woman’s baby? Turns out it was true.