An excellent article on wolf reintroduction in Orion magazine. The main focus is on the evolution of our psychology and values around wolves. Here’s a sneak preview:
…the culture of the west continues to be transformed gradually by an influx of people holding different, perhaps more modern, values. The old-timers are fading away and, like it or not, the new west is taking hold. Surveys show that if you’re about fifty years old or more, you probably hold a pretty negative attitude towards predators; but younger people think the whole idea of killing off all the predators is a joke…. And more people have come to understand that you can’t cry wolf on both sides of the issue. That is, those with anti-wolf sentiments realize that there haven’t been huge problems with wolves, and even wolf advocates realize that wolves can be a pain in the ass sometimes.
Wolf reintroduction is happening not just in the northern Rockies, but in other parts of the US, such as North Carolina, the Southwest, and, by natural population expansion, in the Upper Midwest. The big question is whether people will live peacably with wolves. And a big part of the answer to that question has to do with what you see when you see a wolf.