The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose lifting protections on the gray wolf, seen here in 2008. The species’ status under the Endangered Species Act has been contested for years.
Gary Kramer/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – NPR
Published March 9, 2019
The gray wolf plays big role in Anishnaabe stories
DENVER — David Bernhardt, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, told state wildlife managers gathered in Denver on Wednesday the Interior Department will propose removing the gray wolf’s endangered speices status in the Lower 48 states.
“Our priorities are the president’s priorities,” Bernhardt said in his speech. “Many of our experts believe the wolf no longer needs the protections of the Endangered Species Act,” Bernhardt said at the annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference.
Ma’iingan (Gray wolf) is also one of the most revered symbols within the Anishnaabe (Odawa, Ojibway, Potawatomi) clan system and has a special status; wolves were commissioned by the Creator to walk with the Anishnaabe, and then separate.
In the Anishnaabe creation story, ma’iingan walked beside original man as his brother, as they traveled to visit and name all the animals, plants, and places on Earth. Later, the Creator would guide them down separate paths, but advised that they would be feared, respected and misunderstood by others who would arrive later. Culturally, Ma’iingan is an important representation of family, cooperation, loyalty and intelligence.
“Though often cast as the villain in folklore and fairy tales, gray wolves play a critical role in keeping mammal populations like deer and elk healthy and protecting habitat from over-grazing. In Yellowstone, where wolves are protected, the positive impacts on vegetation, native birds and fish, and more have been vast and profound,” says Lena Moffitt, senior director, Our Wild America
“Gray wolves play a critical role in our deeply-connected ecosystems.They keep our wild places in balance, and their presence has a cascade of benefits on mammal populations, habitat protection, vegetation, and more. Removing gray wolves from the equation has enormous long-term ripple effects.” Moffitt continues.