The West Old & New December Vol. II Issue XII - Page 12

and hunters there feel as if the wolves were forced onto the state by the federal government. The state's wolf management plan is prefaced by the legislature's memorial declaring that the official position of the state is the removal of all wolves by any means necessary. Because of the state of Idaho's refusal to participate in wolf restoration, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nez Perce tribe initially managed the wolf population there since the reintroduction. During that time, the Idaho wolf population had made the most remarkable comeback in the region with its abundant federal lands and wilderness areas peaking at nearly 900 wolves (almost half of the regional wolf population) in 2009. However, the wolves have increasingly blamed for livestock and hunting opportunity losses. The US Fish and Wildlife Service attempted twice to delist wolves from federal protection and turn them over to state management but both of those attempts were found unlawful by the federal court in Missoula, Montana. In order to quell the political battle between the ranchers, hunters and conservationists, members of Congress removed Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in 2011 and gave wolf management to the states of Idaho and Montana under state wolf management plans. Since that time, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has also delisted wolves from federal protection in Wyoming and the state now has authority over wolf management there as well. This decision is also being challenged as unlawful in court in 2013. Current wolf population statistics can be found at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/ Wolves in folklore, religion and mythology To the left Little Red Riding Hood (1883), Gustave Doré In Norse and Japanese mythology, wolves were portrayed as near deities: in Japan, grain farmers worshiped wolves at shrines and left food offerings near their dens, beseeching them to protect their crops from wild boars and deer, while the wolf Fenrir of Norse mythology was depicted as the son of Loki. Other cultures portrayed wolves as part of their foundation myths: in Irish mythology, Cormac mac Airt is raised by wolves, while in Roman mythology, the Capitoline Wolf nurses Romulus and Remus, the future founders of Rome. In the mythology of the Turks, Mongols and Ainu, wolves were believed to be the ancestors of their people, while the Dena’ina believed wolves were once men, and viewed them as brothers. Wolves were linked to the sun in some Eurasian cultures: the Ancient Greeks and Romans associated wolves with the sun god Apollo, while the wolf Sköll in Norse mythology was depicted pursuing the setting sun. According to the Pawnee creation myth, the wolf was the first animal to experience death. Wolves were sometimes associated with witchcraft in both northern European and some Native American cultures: in Norse folkore, the völva (witch) Hyndla and the giantess Hyrrokin are both portrayed as using wolves as mounts, while in Navajo culture, wolves were feared as witches in wolf's clothing. Similarly, the Tsilhqot'in believed that contact with wolves could cause mental illness and death. In the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, one of the oldest texts in the world, the titular character rejects the sexual advances of the goddess Ishtar, reminding her that she had transformed a previous lover, a shepherd, into a wolf, thus turning him into the very animal that his flocks must be protected against. Aesop featured wolves in several of his fables, playing on the concerns of Ancient Greece's settled, sheep-herding world. His most famous is the fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which is directed at those who knowingly raise false alarms, and from which the idiomatic phrase "to cry wolf" is derived. Some of his other fables concentrate on maintaining the trust between shepherds and guard dogs in their vigilance against wolves, as well as anxieties over the close relationship between wolves and dogs. Although Aesop used wolves to warn, criticize and moralize about human behaviour, his portrayals added to the wolf's image as a deceitful and dangerous animal. The tale of Little Red Riding Hood, first written in 1697 by Charles Perrault, is largely considered to have had more influence than any other source of literature in forging the wolf's negative reputation in the western world. The wolf in this story is portrayed as a potential rapist, capable of imitating human speech. The hunting of wolves, and their attacks on humans and livestock feature prominently in Russian literature, and are included in the works of Tolstoy, Chekhov, Nekrasov, Bunin, Sabaneyev, and others. Farley Mowat's 1963 memoir Never Cry Wolf was the first positive portrayal of wolves in popular literature, and is largely considered to be the most popular book on wolves, having been adapted into a Hollywood film and taught in several schools decades after its publication. Although credited with having changed popular perceptions on wolves by portraying them as loving, cooperative and noble, it has been criticized for its idealization of wolves and its factual inaccuracies. Jean Craighead George's 1972 novel Julie of the Wolves, the first part in a trilogy, focuses on the relationship between a girl and a wolf pack. The last entry of the series is written from the wolves' point of view and, although anthropomorphized, the animals are crafted from a close reading of wolf biology and ethology. Several writers of modern children's literature have refashioned the image of wolves in classical fairy tales in order to portray them in a more positive light. Examples of this include Ecowolf and the Three Little Pigs and The Wolf who cried Boy. (From Wikipedia) The West Old & New Page 12