June 6, 2023 | J.Y. Jones

Wolf Reintroduction: Why the Fascination With Predators?

 

WHY THE FASCINATION WITH PREDATORS?

by J.Y. Jones, MD

Even a cursory review of the literature will show that the steamroller called “wolf reintroduction” has already rumbled past and become unstoppable. Coloradans narrowly passed a measure approving wolf reintroduction west of the Continental Divide in 2020. This referendum gave considerable authority to the Colorado Wildlife Department to determine the exact area of reintroduction, which most assumed would be centered in Rocky Mountain National Park, 415 square miles of high country wilderness just west of the Divide. However, the proposed area of reintroduction is farther west, including all the State’s western border, but not the park. The thinking is that wolves in the park would be very close to concentrated human settlements east of the Divide, and farther west the human population is much thinner. Colorado’s population is now probably more than six million people (5.77 million by the 2020 census), the vast majority residing along the Front Range’s eastern extent. Wolf reintroduction has been more than successful in the Yellowstone Park area, but that huge area resembles Colorado only superficially.

I believe it’s safe to say that every large predator in the world is listed as either endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Many are exceedingly plentiful in their home habitat, but there seems to be some kind of mysterious force at work that gives them special status. More on that as we move along.

Why Worldview Matters

From my standpoint, the modern fascination with apex predators such as wolves fits perfectly into my worldview, since I view the Holy Bible as totally authoritative and true. This will be my theme in this piece, but first a few facts about wolves and large predators in general.

From the dawn of civilization, control of these predators has been a goal for virtually every civilization and tribe. Very large predators, such as lions, tigers, and bears remained nearly impervious to control until the advent of modern firearms, but smaller predators such as wolves could be trapped or poisoned, or even killed with an arrow or a spear. A few populations have been driven to near extinction, such as wolves in the Lower Forty-eight, a situation that has already been reversed in many areas.

There are both pros and cons to such reintroduction, which to some seems like letting the rats back into the barn, while to others it’s just good conservation. For a truly balanced presentation of the good and bad points of wolf reintroduction, I recommend an article in my reference list.1 This article not only treats the subject fairly, it proposes innovative measures that should be included in any such project, such as a reimbursement mechanism for ranchers and outfitters who suffer financial loss due to someone else’s affinity for wolves.

Wolf country: Yellowstone National Park

Costs and Complications of Wolf Reintroduction

Going into population dynamics of wolves is beyond the scope of this article, but human-wolf conflict in an era of incredibly accurate and deadly firearms will certainly continue to generate mortality and conflict. Add to this the natural mortality from wolf predatory activity2, and a successful reintroduction is much more than simply turning loose a wolf pack somewhere. All are collared and followed, newborn pups are even trapped and given distemper and other shots, and deaths of pack members are followed up for cause of demise. Such programs are woefully expensive, and the taxpayer foots virtually all the bills. A truly different but outlandish example is the California condor, which still does not have a sustainable free-flying population after some sixty million dollars have been spent to achieve less than four hundred liberated birds, or somewhere north of $170,000 per free condor. Each bird also costs about $5000 per year to maintain, too, a fact you can confirm by doing an internet search about the costs.

The question of whether such efforts are worth the price is not an easy one to answer. Nobody wants to see any part of God’s creation simply disappear, although the fossil record shows there are perhaps more extinct animals and plants than there are living today. Extinction is a part of life, it seems, and sometimes we fight it with more resources than the situation merits. But in the end it will all fit together, if you follow the Biblical narrative on the subject.

The curse made it hard to live in the world, but God did not leave himself without witness. (AIG Creation Museum)

A Biblical View of Hunting and Animal Stewardship

In the beginning, God created many beasts that were well-equipped to eat other animals, but instead fed on green plants. After man’s fall into sin, these creatures apparently began to use their God-given equipment to feed on weaker species. There is no record of conflict between man and any species of animal before the flood of Noah, though it would appear that puny man would be an easy meal for many kinds of beasts, were there opportunity. Abel (second son of Adam and Eve, and the victim of the first murder) was a keeper of flocks, presumably to be used for sacrifice, hides, milk, etc, since permission to eat meat was postponed until after the great Flood of Noah.

Man’s biggest loss early was expulsion from the Garden of Eden after Adam’s sin, but the second tragedy was the paradise lost after the flood. The world we live in was dramatically altered, and God found it necessary to give man permission to eat animal flesh.3 In this same passage of Scripture, God did something even more special: He put a terror of man on all wild creatures, a necessary step in view of the numerous monsters faced by Noah’s descendants—yes, the dinosaurs survived the flood on the Ark, but were infected with this same illogical fear (illogical from an evolutionary standpoint, necessary from man’s standpoint). The sacrificial system of the Old Testament of the Bible was based on use of domestic animals, most notably sheep, goats, and cattle. There are several allusions to conflict with major predators, presumably over flocks and herds of domestic animals.

Old Testament Examples of Predator Attitudes

Predator control in Biblical times was far higher on the agenda than predator protection; David as a shepherd boy killed both a lion and a bear attacking his father’s sheep.4  Earlier, Samson killed a lion with his bare hands.5  When the Israelites were entering the Promised Land after Egyptian slavery, they were told that God would curse them for disobedience by “let(ting) loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle…”6 He obviously wasn’t talking about rabbits! In another place, God told the people through Moses that they would not be allowed to take the entire land too quickly, lest before it was occupied, “the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.”7 This surely meant predators.

Predators in Prophecy

Now let’s look into a little predictive prophecy regarding wild beasts. Their place in the End Times is clearly foretold in Revelation. The whole environmental movement is foretold there, including the green movement in general, the focus on predators, animal rights, vegetarianism, and efforts to give legal rights of personhood to the earth, the ocean,8,9 and other presumably special places. My final quote below does strongly link these movements. But let’s not get distracted, because here we are focusing on predators, and wolves in particular. For a Biblical perspective on the direction we’re going as a nation and as a species, I recommend you read Romans 1:21-25 in the Holy Bible.

Dr Jones gives a Biblical perspective on animal rights

In my book, Worship Not the Creature: Animal Rights and the Bible, I discuss these issues in more depth.

…it is impossible to write about the animal rights movement without bringing more into focus their chief allies—today’s radical environmental movement. There is a strong connection…Both appear to be environment-oriented, pro-stewardship, and wise; instead both are the acme of foolishness, trickery, and self-interest. Neither is concerned in the least for the welfare of animals, the planet, or the human race; both are selfishly and unashamedly antihuman to the core.”10

If the radical environmentalists are given their way, among their early successes will be the end of America as we know it, and finally a world government that will mirror the end-times destruction portrayed in Biblical prophecy, particularly in the book of Revelation.

References

1. https://theconversation.com/wolf-restoration-in-colorado-shows-how-humans-are-rethinking-their-relationships-with-wild-animals-197669

2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/35938430_The_predatory_sequence_and_the_influence_of_injury_risk_on_hunting_behavior_in_the_wolf

3. Genesis 9:2-3, The Holy Bible

4. I Samuel 17:34-36, ibid

5. Judges 14:5-6, ibid

6. Leviticus 26:22, ibid, NASB

7. Exodus 23:29, ibid, NASB

8. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25734250-500-the-push-to-grant-legal-rights-to-nature-is-gaining-momentum

9. https://uwaterloo.ca/news/environment/new-wave-recognizing-oceans-vital-role

10. Worship Not the Creature, J. Y. Jones, Nordskog Publishing Inc., 2716 Sailor Avenue, Ventura, CA 93001


J.Y. Jones MD has been an eye physician and surgeon for five decades. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran, speaks Spanish, and has volunteered in 28 overseas eye-surgery mission trips. He has received numerous awards for writing and photography, and is a frequent speaker at sportsmen’s events, where he particularly enjoys sharing his Christian testi­mony. J.   Y. and his wife Linda have been married since 1964.

Dr. Jones is an avid hunter who has taken all North American big game species using the same Remington .30-06 rifle, resulting in the book One Man, One Rifle, One Land (Safari Press, 2001); Dr. Jones helped Safari Press produce the Ask the Guides series, their most successful North American hunting books. He has written 14 books and some 300 short articles for various periodicals. For more articles by Dr Jones, visit his Author Profile page.

Read Dr Jones’ fast-moving and dramatic novel about a world in which animal rights activism runs amok.

—Ed. note: Dr Jones’ novel Lightspeed to Babylon is a dramatic, engaging science-fiction story of how radical environmentalism leads to a world government dictatorship. The plot involves dramatic plot twists from predator encounters to futuristic space travel. Highly recommended.

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