Why does society fear and revile this beautiful creature?

Why does society fear and revile this beautiful creature?

Elizabeth Marshall

Wolves have been persecuted for centuries due to human intolerance and fear. Yet when you look into their eyes and they look back, there is a sense of understanding and connection. It’s a humbling experience, and so easy to see how wolves were the first animal domesticated by man. Once the transformation into man’s best friend was complete, however, wolves became man’s worst enemy.

Understanding why this should be, why an animal no more dangerous to man than a lawn mower, or even a cow, is considered so terrifying, is crucial to wolf conservation and reintroduction.

There is an answer: the cultural wolf. Unlike the real wolf, who is afraid of humans, plays joyfully with its pack-mates, and holds deep bonds of affection with its family, the cultural wolf is the stuff of nightmares. He is a man-eater, grave-robber, child-snatcher. He is hated. But this fictitious cultural icon is getting its real-life cousin slaughtered. Humans need to kill the cultural wolf, to let the real wolf live.

This image, showing a beautiful wolf named Luna, aims to capture the essence of the real animal. She is not terrifying or evil, but simply a wolf enjoying the sunshine.

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The John Byrne Award