Coyote Jones

Rant: On Wolfaboos and Wildlife "Advocates"

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Fifty Facebook groups later, you'd think a decent number of people would have donated to the $1500 Coywolf Association goal, but no. Not a penny.

And the pitches are worded right. Silver-tongued and tailored to each individual group's aim. I could post the variants of the pitch here, on my blog. Every post is approved by the administrators.

My frenemy Ty is a coyote whether he knows it or not. He just is. In his words, "Facebook is where you get fifty likes on a post and nobody actually does anything."

He's seven years younger than me. He nailed it. 88 shares so far on GoFundMe alone, and we've had only three donors, one of whom is Savage, who was sending me food money. We get likes, though. Oh, do we get likes. I'm sure the wolves and coyotes of the world really appreciate that they're liked in the abstract by members of the same species that set the leg trap that keeps them thrashing in mortal fear in a cold field far from their family. The common claim that animals don't understand death is nonsense. Animals know that they can die.

I don't take wolfaboos seriously. I don't take any animal advocates seriously unless they back up their claims of advocacy with either fancy footwork, i.e. well-worded letters to certain officials, or with their wallet. I post a small fundraiser for an initiative that can ACTUALLY CHANGE SOMETHING and I watch it disappear into a morass of millions of mindless petitions that will never reach anyone in power.

What does it take? Do we need a heartwarming coyote story along the lines of Free Willy or that Yellowstone pack alpha whose name I keep forgetting? A human interest story. Charlie the Coyote. The Daily Coyote. We tend to forget that Shreve's husband makes a living at aerially gunning down coyotes. We gloss over it.

We care about Cecil the Lion, but not lions without names. Or bears. Or snakes, or other, less charismatic wildlife. As a human species, we just HAVE to see ourselves reflected in the species we choose to save. We see ourselves in lions and tigers and sometimes wolves, but never snakes or sage grouse. We commit to whatever makes us feel good about ourselves.

People will celebrate when one pig is saved from its journey to the abattoir and claim victory and forget about the hundreds of thousands of unnamed, unimportant pigs about to get sliced up.

Warm, fuzzy feelings matter to humans.

Warm, fuzzy human feelings are very distant from the empathy I feel for coyotes and wolves in zoos and in the wild, animals who are straining for freedom, animals who are strangling to death in a snare while their eyes bulge, animals who are debating whether or not to gnaw off their own foreleg. All of the unnamed, voiceless, apparently unimportant animals who ultimately end up as statistics. They are very real to me, as real as Mayhem, my coyote who is freezing in his dog kennel at Killman Zoo on the outskirts of Hamilton, wanting to snuggle with Jersey for warmth but he can't because the chicken coop they put in his enclosure is only big enough for one coyote. The other sleeps outside, a pawn of Nature's temper.

I am not a statistic.

These animals have their own individual stories and personalities and lives. Stories that are almost always, always untold, until we get a human interest story or a new Disney flick.

If you care about wolves and coyotes, then donate to organizations that have the agency to fight for them in ways that might effect change. Put your money where your mouth is. $5 is worth more than fifty online petitions.

If I ever have the money, I'm making a list of my favourite wildlife organizations, and I'm donating to them.

I already spend easily $200 a month for coyotes and wolves, and I live on $900 a month. If I can do it, anyone can. Excuses are bullshit.

Petition-signers can bite me. They're almost worse than the people who shoot wolves. They exploit the pain and torture of wildlife in order to feel good about themselves, like they're making a difference. Lip service. A mockery of the reality of the awfulness that our wild predators actually face.

Walk your talk and actually DO SOMETHING or get out of the game. Either you're useless or you're not. I'm done.

Comments

  1. MountainGhost's Avatar
    This exactly. It's hard to know what to even add, that you've not said already. I feel utterly disgusted at each and every instance of people pretending to care about an animal or animal-related issue as a method of feeling good about themselves.

    That's not the same at feeling good feelings because you *actually* did something effective to help. No shame in that.

    But you're right that for far too many people, feeling good for cheap is all they seek. Disgusting.

    I've seen it with some of my snow leopard related endeavors, same as you with coyotes. I tell them about my time in Siberia. I tell them about the fundraising efforts I've started. Nothing but vapid attempts at outrage. Then they come to me later, feeling very pleased with themselves for having researched "snow tigers" (not kidding) and telling me how they directed their friend to read about the "tiger" issue too. Mission accomplished! They did a thing. Dust your hands of it and go home pleased, dude. You earned it.

    Beyond wildlife and conservation, the most in-my-face instance of people feeling great about how much their doing for animals (without actually having to do much of anything) is tell me I'm a terrible, horrible, filthy bunny murderer, in an attempt to "shame" me into no longer killing them. Then they can feel very content that they did something for animals and go off home to have a nice chicken dinner (also actually happened).

    Anywayyyyyy, I might be bitter about things like that. But yes. Actually try, for reasons other than for yourself, or sit down and shut up. Agreed.

    And yes, it DOES take a heartwarming, disneyesque story to get real attention. We'll wait a long time before that happens for coyotes, I think.

    Don't even get me started on how frustrated I was about every damn aspect of the Cecil drama. *snarls*
    Updated January 16th, 2016 at 10:56 PM by MountainGhost