SoFo: Wolves— Fact vs. Fiction and What You Need To Know: Adults/Teens/Children 8+
Program Presenter: Molly Vorhaus, South Fork Natural History Museum Summer Intern.
Throughout time, wolves have been important animals in both the natural environment and human society. Viewed as predators, symbols, family members and, more recently, pets, wolves have played an important role in the human understanding of both nature and social institutions. As a result of children’s literature, conflict with livestock ranchers and other human communities, and media portrayals of wolves as predators, villains, and a vicious species, wolves have been the target of hunting for many years. However, wolves are a keystone species, having important roles to maintain biodiversity in various environments. Removal of wolves from their rightful homes in the wilderness is detrimental to these animals as individuals and the ecosystem around them, and contributes to biodiversity loss. Yet while there are thousands of wild wolves in North America, there are far more wolves (and wolf-dog hybrids) living in captivity. The aim for this presentation is to bring awareness of the species that played the role of neighbor to those of us living in Long Island for many years. We will explore the various roles of wolves in multiple societies and why they are important members of our ecosystems. Further, we will also explore the various viewpoints that encourage harmful practices against wolves. Whether they are views that support the wolf and wolf-hybrid pet-trade, or the hunting of wolves, Molly’s presentation seeks to enlighten how the various viewpoints can be detrimental to wolves, and what we can do to stop this perpetuation of harmful practices. Molly is studying wolves for her senior thesis at Gettysburg College.