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Thursday, 16 September 2010

"Is a wolf..." published in Humanimalia

My article "Is a wolf wild as long as it does not know that it is being thoroughly handled?" has been published today in the American online journal Humanimalia, published at DePauw University. Issue 3 (volume 2, number 1 - Fall 2010) includes two further Nordic contributions (book reviews by Helena Pedersen - Malmö - and Tora Holmberg, Uppsala).

The topic of wildness is a matter of ongoing debate in the wildlife management community. In this essay it is related to questions of shyness and actual human interference (especially on the management side). The well-documented case of the Scandinavian wolf population suggests that shyness is not a sufficient criterion for wildness. For all the wolf knows, it is still a wild animal – and it still behaves like one. But are we justified in claiming that a (more or less) free-ranging wolf is truly wild, simply because it does not know that it is being thoroughly managed? The article introduces this theme and the case at hand, covering wolf mortality, human artifacts in the life-world of wolves, and captures. The long-term goal of wildlife conservation, the author proposes, should be to restore the independent viability of wildlife. Wildness, in short, has to go beyond appearances. In a closing note, Arne Næss’ philosophy of wolf policies is critically evaluated.

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