'A fierce green fire': Passionate pleas and wolf ecology

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2002
Authors:Jones, K
Journal:Ethics, Place and Environment
Date Published:2002
Keywords:Canis lupus

This paper considers the relationship between scientific rationality and emotional value in determining ideas about canine biology in North America. While science has been assumed to be objective, unassailable and devoid of value judgments, esoteric theories concerning wild predators have changed radically over time. Biologists acted as important agents in the campaign to eradicate Canis lupus from the USA during the late 1800s and early 1900s. From the 1920s onwards, scientists promulgated ecological ideas in order to redeem native carnivores. This paper suggests that, in extermination and rehabilitation phases, biologists formed their opinions of resident lupines using scientific dogma and moral precepts. By delineating the process of wolf rehabilitation in the USA, this paper situates science as a shifting body of knowledge, a way of comprehending the environment that cannot be viewed apart from cultural conceptions of biology, ethics and aesthetics.

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