The wolf is a lightning rod in discussions about wildlife recovery. Theodore Roosevelt called them “beasts of waste and desolation.” If you can have a conversation about the wolf and not raise any tempers, you are doing well. When I had to pick the animal that would open my new book, Tenacious Beasts, I swallowed hard and chose the wolf.
One thing that’s clear is that attitudes towards wolves have changed over the last half-century. Wolves now have an army of advocates working on their behalf. State agencies and national governments require their protection. Outfitters urge greater tolerance of wolves because of the income they bring to rural communities.
In this essay in The Conversation, I unpack the reasons why attitudes have changed. The combination of science, economics, and shifting social priorities creates a strong case for encouraging the wolf’s return.