26 Jan 2008, 6:26pm
Predators Wildlife Habitat
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Wolves in Russia

Graves, Will N. Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages. 2007. Detselig Enterprises LTD.

Selected excerpts and ordering info [here]

Review by Bear Bait

I finished it. Dryer than a popcorn fart. A sort of disjointed set of citations. Somehow the organization could have been better. Or so I think.

Wolves in Russia was PhD edited for facts and translations, but perhaps not for literary style. I have no doubt as to the veracity of the material, just some discomfort in how it was presented. I have neither the experience or talent to detail how it should have been done, however. My cop-out.

Wolves In Russia can be used as a reference, but you had better be an expert reader of Russian like the author. The book is edited by Dr. Valerius Geist, PhD, P.Biol., Prof. Emeritus U of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Wolves in Russia has excellent scientific trappings, if not the order and style that would make it more digestible for me.

But after reading Will Graves’ gleanings from the historical record of the last 150 years, it becomes clear that Russians, and that means all those people under the rule of Mother Russia in the last 150 years, have every right to fear wolves.

There is an old Russian saying, “I kill the wolf not because he is grey. I kill the wolf because he kills my sheep.” Russians don’t hate wolves for being wolves. They hate them for what they do to their lives.

If you were rural and subsistence living in Russia during the last 150 years, you would have known political upheaval, government intervention and non-intervention, money for government services, and times without money for government services. You would have experienced long periods of gun control and being defenseless against violent people and predators. Hundreds of millions of Russians died in that 150 year period, and probably the majority at the hands of their own government by acts of omission as well as commission.

The apparent difference between the pioneer experience in the U.S. as opposed to Europe is the amount of liberty in the U.S. The freedom to own and bear arms was essential to a pioneering people who were able to succeed without undue influence of wolves in their lives. In the U.S. wolves were shot, on sight, by European immigrants because their life and cultural experiences were that wild predators consumed the means of human survival. “I shoot the wolf because he eats my sheep.” It is likely that pre-European North American residents felt the same way.

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