Stake a claim

Recently, in Germany, there has been controversy over the return of Grey wolves. A couple hundred years ago wolves were thriving in Germany but eventually with the introduction of livestock there numbers began to dwindle. Sometime between the 18th and 19th century wolves became extinct in Germany due to deforestation and human persecution. Beginning in the early 2000’s wolves began returning to Germany from neighboring countries. With their return came controversy. The small village (Sankt Märgen) I live in is one of the many places where the wolves aren’t being welcomed back with open arms. One of the reasons so many people are upset over their return is because of the many small farms in this area. Farmers are worried about their cows being attacked and killed. I can see the argument here but I have a hard time feeling sympathy because really what’s the difference between a wolf or a person eating a cow. So based off that statement you can probably guess where I stand on the issue.

I, being a lover of animals, would love to see wolves back in this part of Germany. I think that it is only fitting that they return since they were originally from here. This issue of predators returning is not an issue that is unique to Germany. In other parts of the world many thought to be extinct predators are returning after long periods of absence and this has caused . Like most apex predators, wolves play a vital role in restoring balance to the wild ecosystem. According to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) wolves prey mostly on deer and wild boar. By limiting the number of these herbivores, wolves help to keep the plant life in forests healthy and thus the ecosystem remains balanced. Unfortunately, it isn’t only farmers that don’t want the return of these animals it is also hunters. Many hunters believe that with the return of these animals then there won’t be enough deer or wild boar for humans to eat. I find this argument ironic because it isn’t about saving deer or wild boar. It is about saving these animals for humans to eat. I don’t think that this is really a fair argument plus there is plenty of other things that people can eat!

As of yet, wolves haven’t made a comeback in Southern Germany. Wolves are a legally protected species in Germany. Nevertheless, it seems as though every time a wolf is spotted it turns up dead a few weeks later. People take the issue into their own hands and end up shooting the wolves and most of the time they are never caught. There are arguments on both sides of this issue but ultimately I think that the wolves should be allowed to come back. For farmers there are systems they could put in place to protect their livestock and they are the following: building different electronic enclosures to secure their livestock, purchasing large herding dogs to protect their livestock, and/or bringing all animals inside at night. I believe that there are solutions to this problem that don’t involve killing these beautiful animals.

I have created a poster in both English and German to reiterate my opinion on this topic. It can be viewed via the link provided.

8 thoughts on “Stake a claim”

  1. Nina thank you for the insight about the wolves in Germany. This is an interesting topic. I grew up vacationing in Yellowstone and followed the story closely when the wolves were reintroduced there. It was amazing about how the wolves completely changed the Eco system back to how it should be. You know how there are some memories that stay with you forever? Well one of those for me was when I was visiting Yellowstone about 5 years ago with my kids and a wolf crossed the road in front of us. Unlike many animal sightings he was taking his time so that made it more exciting. It was amazing for me to see a wolf because I had grown up watching the story about the wolves.
    Introducing the wolves back into Germany I am sure is a big debate. One of the biggest challenges I can see is very basic but just the fact that Germany does not have the vast amount of open spaces that we have in the United States. The first people reported in Europe were recorded in Germany around 700000 BC. So human kind has been expanding and claiming the land for a long time. For the last 100 years I am guessing that the Germans are not used to having wild animals like wolves roam free like people are used to it here in Alaska. Do you think that people are also scared of having these wild animals around as well as just the threat to livestock? I can not see Germans being okay with a wolf wondering into a village. As much as I love wild life and am an advocate for preserving wildlife I think it will be quite a challenge to reintroduce wolves into Germany. I really do hope that it can happen. I do think that the world as a whole is over populated and we need to learn to live with wildlife. Because I agree with you I don’t have much to debate except that I find it a very difficult challenge.
    In the area where we lived there was a big debate about a huge overpass that was being built over some vineyards. I learned that just this bridge was changing the entire Eco system of vineyards that have been there for hundreds of years.
    Thank you for your insightful post and education about this topic!! I also get very homesick for Germany whenever I read one of your posts. 😉

    1. Hi Maureen,

      Thanks for you comment! You brought up a good point about the amount of space available in Europe. I guess I’m still thinking like an American and thinking that there is massive amounts of space everywhere! I think you’re right in saying that people probably wouldn’t be super happy about wolves roaming around. In this part of Germany there are many hikers and bikers as well so I think some people are afraid of having wolves in the forests because of that. One article I read about it mentioned that as being another possible problem. Although, many studies have found that wolves don’t normally attack people. I think one study said that since the wolves have been coming back there hasn’t been a single human attack only attacks on livestock. With this topic there are a lot of moving parts and it was nice to hear a new perspective so thanks for sharing that!

  2. Nicely done!

    What software did you use to make your (very attractive!) posters?

    Quick tech revision request: can you make the photo attribution (and the photo itself, if you wish) a clickable link to the source?

    1. Hi Chris,

      Like before with one of my other posters I googled campaign posters and this site came up It’s a pretty cool site that can be utilized for a variety of purposes so I’d recommend checking it out!

      1. Yes, *I* knew it was Canva, but was trying to subtly hint that in the context of this class, sharing software/app/sites that are used is very helpful for classmates who might want to try it out 🙂

  3. From the farmer’s perspective, it’s about the loss of a revenue source. A 2-year old cow costs $1000-2000. She can produce calves, also valued at $1000, for 8-10 years. So the loss of one cow could mean the reduction of $10,000 future income for the farmer. If a cow was wolf-killed and only partial eaten by the predator, the rest of the carcass would go to waste (would any person want to eat what is essentially road-kill?). For subsistence farmers, like my family, the loss of even one animal could mean the difference between breaking even and bankruptcy. There simply isn’t money for extravagant electronic enclosures or time to move hundreds of cattle to a barn each night.

    I agree sharing a space with wildlife is challenging, and there are positive and negative arguments on both sides. I can image it’s even more so in Germany than it was in Montana.

    1. Hi Deana,

      Thanks for the feedback! Its really nice to have a farmers perspective on the matter. My husband and father -in-law both have the same opinion as you because they both grew up on farms so I can definitely see where you’re coming from. I guess I don’t have the same insight because I didn’t grow up on a farm so thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Nina,

    I really enjoyed reading over your thoughts on the reintroduction of Wolves in Germany. While I am a hunter, from a farming community, and a self proclaimed conservationist, I see validity in a lot of the comments voiced here as well. Ultimately I am on the side of biodiversity and maintaining a healthy ecosystem to ensure longevity and a population of wolves should be part of that. Just like any animal population in todays world their population should be monitored and if their population growth should grow out of balance with available resources it may be necessary for the population to be managed. But I do believe they have the right to be there. I also took a stand for animals for this assignment, but people more widely accept elk than wolves.

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