Biologist Wants to Ban Howling at Wolves
Alberta carnivore expert Cam McTavish says it is animal harassment.
“When we have commercial groups or individuals or even researchers that are randomly calling wolf howls, I feel it is unwarranted,” he says.
“In my opinion, it is a disturbing event in that wolves do react to these calls. If in their territory they hear another wolf howl, they have to respond to that wolf.”
At Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, mass human-wolf howling events have been held with official blessing for many years, the article reports.
A University of Alberta professor suggested that listening to wolves howl builds support for saving endangered species.
It’s an interesting question. Yes, you can harass wild animals and interfere with their feeding, breeding, and so on, even in the name of “nonconsumptive wildlife recreation.”
The issue has arisen before with birders using recorded calls to entice rare birds, thus disrupting whatever the birds were doing otherwise.
Yet when M. and I were censusing owls for the Bureau of Land Management in the early 1990s, we both learned to make passable Mexican spotted owl calls. Getting an owl to call back was the only way to locate them.
Wolves are a special case. To some people they are “power animals” who somehow bless people. Other times, they kill people, not to mention sheep, calves, dogs, etc. They are not our friends; they are wolves. And they have wolf value systems and priorities.
That said, I would want more evidence before banning howling at the wolves.
(Via Cat Urbigkit’s “Wolf Watch.”)