"If we choose to work together, then we don't need to choose between wolves and livestock." ~ Carter Niemyer
When wolves were first reintroduced to the Greater Yellowstone area in the mid-1900s, no one could truly foresee what was to come. No one could fully predict the tremendous celebration and the overwhelming controversy that would sweep the nation, not to mention the hardship on the animal itself in terms of aggressive lethal management.
Unbeknownst to the wolf, he now carries a great burden on his back. He has become a political instrument, a tool for fundraising, the urban symbol of wilderness lost, and often the scapegoat for rural challenges. All this for just being a wolf and doing what nature intended: hunt, disperse, find a mate, live in a family unit, and raise pups.
Today wolf recovery is celebrated as one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time. In terms of restoring an iconic species, the growing population numbers, and recognizing the tremendous accomplishment of those who made it happen, this celebration is well warranted. However, considering the continued persecution of a whole species, the harmful working lands rhetoric, and the growing divide between communities, can you say wolf recovery has been entirely successful? We don’t believe so. The continued polarizing debate has hindered the ability of wolves, working ranches, and people to thrive on shared landscapes.
As wolves disperse into new states, those states look to their predecessors as a mode. Over 25 years later, there has yet to be a state that has created a lasting environment for wild wolves and rural communities to exist without conflict socially and economically. Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Yet the same story for wolves and ranching repeats itself.
Thus, we believe it is time to change the definition of a successful wolf recovery paradigm. Our approach includes wolves, livestock, and people as equal parts of the equation. As in the three-legged stool analogy, the stool collapses if one leg is missing or weakened. We think that historically this stool has continued to falter due to an effort imbalance. Working Circle seeks to create and implement this critical balance for success. We believe that instead of persecuting a whole species or an entire culture, we need to recognize that we are part of a larger, interconnected, interdependent community. By supporting the viability of the individual parts, we can heal and ensure the health of the whole instead of continuing to fuel the polarizing rhetoric that has only caused ultimate harm to the respective causes we claim to serve.
Our no-compromise philosophy When talking about building on common ground or meeting in the middle, the concept of compromise is generally part of the equation. However, compromise can be intimidating and immediately brings to mind the need to give something up, perhaps something of deep value. Because of this, compromise is often a stumbling block that can quickly end well-intentioned efforts to find meaningful solutions. What the Working Circle model presents is a no-compromise scenario. Our strategy only promotes gain. The Working Circle model sets up a win-win scenario for the urban public who support wolves, the rural communities who live and work with wolves, the agencies that manage and conserve wolves, and the wolf itself can finally exist as nature intended.
This is our definition of success!
To support Colorado, California, and/or Oregon DONATE HERE to support proven, long-term and sustainable strategies to reduce wolf-livestock conflict, thus protecting both cattle and wolves or for more ways to donate visit ourSUPPORT US! page.