Thursday, February 7, 2013
NPR Broadcast: "Hidden Life of Wolves"
I am going to try to make more posts about natural history and ecology. I have been very, very remiss, and the last post I recall that was truly natural history may have been another NPR radio broadcast about Pre-Columbian ecology. Anyway, I heard this this morning on the Diane Rehm Show http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2013-02-07/jim-and-jamie-dutcher-hidden-life-wolves It wasn't anything unusually amazing, just good and compelling, although limited in scope to (more or less) one species. The comments made of the down-grade from national Endangered Species List to state-by-state regulated hunting, and the swift decimation of formerly protected wolves, and especially that the wolves may have to return to Endangered status in short order because of this, is worthy of note. It's important to keep this situation in mind when other animal populations recover from a vulnerable status. Perhaps a Limited-Recovery-with-Ongoing-Monitoring status should be created, and I see no reason hunting licences couldn't be "taxed" to pay for this monitoring. Another factor that suprised me a bit was how very little respect these guests had for the wild dangerous character of their charges. I consider it careless and overconfident. I suppose I applaud their bravery in the search for scientific advance, but I wouldn't have done it. The lady guest spoke how she crawled into the tight, narrow den of a savagely protective mother wolf to examine her pups. True, the mother wolf DID apparently seem to be okay with this, but I myself wouldn't feel too confident with knowing the intentions of a wild animal when in such a literally tight spot. Also, I was uncomfortable with the authors' anthropamorphised treatment of the wolves, despite all their assurances to the contrary. Their use of pet names bothered me, but that is a matter of taste if abandoned in the feild. I'm not convined the pet sentimentality did not carry over into their study. While it is very true that wild animals can have personality and even "friendships" in a sense, the humans' level of trust and familiarity was a decidedly unnatural situation. Which brings us to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, again I'm afraid.