At the end of this year’s Oscar winner for Short Film–Animated, “Peter and the Wolf,” the wolf goes free even after he made Peter not too happy. (Sorry if that ruins it for anyone.) The tolerance for the wolf is one that has been hard won.
Tolerance hasn’t been totally won, although, through the Endangered Species Act, government regulations have helped the gray wolf population grow in the Northern Rocky States. The population has grown so much that Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett said the gray wolf is a “conservation success story.” For this reason, the wolf is being dropped from the list of endangered species, perhaps never to return.
When we went to Yellowstone National Park a few years ago, we did catch site of a gray wolf, one of the animals we were looking for. Unfortunately, wolves like to eat livestock, so farmers and ranchers in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming aren’t thrilled with wolves who encroach on what they rely on for a living.
The wolf saga is an example of the push and pull between environmentalism and business. The tourist industry doesn’t have much pull in this battle, but maybe the wolves will get a hint that hanging around Old Faithful isn’t a bad idea.